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Calcutta, India

Angelika Kampfer took these photos in a region known by the romantic name of Sunderban (“beautiful forest”). The delta estuary of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers lies below sea level and is among the poorest regions in Western Bengal, India.
77% of the population are living below the poverty line. The whole region is distinctly influenced by the nearby megacity of Calcutta. More than half a million people commute daily in 124 trains  and innumerable busses – all of them incredibly crowded - to the metropolis and back.

In the Sundarbans there are hardly any schools and roads, and medical care is scarce. Especially after the monsoon major areas of that region are isolated from the rest of the country. The situation of the women in the villages south of Calcutta is precarious. Giving birth to a girl is still undesirable as the dowry, which is  due when the girl gets married, may ruin a whole family. Women get hardly any pay for the farm work they  do. So it is essential that they find additional and alternative sources of income in the villages in order to safeguard themselves and their children against financial problems. The “Katholische Frauenbewegung” (Catholic Women’s Movement) of Austria supports initiatives that bring about lasting change for the women and their families. Angelika Kampfer focuses her attention on this expression of female solidarity, which across thousands of kilometers and religious and cultural borders places women in the limelight.