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at the very city limits of lahore, some of the most polluted land in pakistan is unofficially home to approximately 17,000 afghan refugees. evicted over a decade ago from then official camps on the frontier, their status and rights as refugees have become increasingly eroded.

a marginalized community who escaped war in eastern afghanistan, they now eat, sleep and pray on the landfill site, bordered by water blackened with effluent from the factories upriver.  that said, life here is still considered a better option than their home country.

those born in the camp have little hope of ever escaping the filth and poverty of their circumstance. whenever a child reaches the age when they can sling a sack over their shoulder, they start work in the dump collecting garbage. when they get a little older they are promoted to separating glass or laboring in the depots.

their infections and insect bites concealed under a layer of dirt, most of the children go days without washing. with just a few points from which to access the unsafe ground water supply, no latrines and their shacks full of the rubbish they bring home each evening, treatable diseases at the refugee camp are rampant and deadly.

photos and (edited) text by alixandra fazzina

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