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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Election campaign stickers on walls of a street in Jhelum, Punjab. Transgender Lubna Laal is contesting election against experienced politicians who have no shortage of funds or political backing.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Transgender election candidate Lubna Laal pastes her poster on a wall during her door to door campaign in her hometown Jhelum.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna Laal and her assistant distributes her election manifesto in streets of Jhelum.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

A man shows the election manifesto pamphlet he received from Lubna Laal, a transgender election candidate in Jhelum city.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Transgender election candidate Lubna Laal and her assistant conducting a door to door campaign in Jhelum.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna Laal talks to a woman in streets of Jhelum as she campaigns for a provincial assembly seat.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Campaigning in streets of Jhelum, transgender Lubna Laal and her assistant walk on foot and distribute their campaign materials door to door.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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New York's Poorest Ignored by Politic...
Bronx, New York, US
By mcseaniew
11 Jan 2013

The community of Highbridge in the South Bronx has never been an affluent part of the United States, much of which was created in the 1940's to accommodate a huge incline in immigration to the city. Today it is home to over 35,000 people, the majority of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants from Dominica, Puerto Rico or Africa. The buildings that were created to house thousands who couldn't afford townhouses and brownstones, are now crumbling. Crime and drug abuse are sky-high. Income disparity in the US is at an all-time high. New York City is home to the most millionaires in the country. But it's also facing a food crisis. Nowhere is this starker than the South Bronx, America's poorest district, where over a quarter of a million people live below the poverty line. No wonder more folks than ever are relying on the Highbridge Community Church food pantry, run by local nonprofit the Muslim Women's Institute for Research and Development (MWIRD). But the pantry faces a closure that would plunge over 2,500 locals into an even-deeper plight.

Welfare is dwindling, and those who need it most find the labyrinthine processes almost impossible to navigate. Many don't speak English as their first language, making the system impenetrable. People who lost their jobs in the recession are struggling to make ends meet. Organisations like the Muslim Women's Institute are many folks' first - and last - resort if they want to eat well. But with the economy the way it is private funds are slipping away, and the pantry the MWI provides could go out of business at any moment. America's philosophies have always made it difficult to allot public funds to society's poorest. But now they face a crisis like never before.

Ibrahim Ramey is a long-time human rights advocate. A Washington DC resident, he has been involved in educating Muslims and Americans about political action in countries as far-flung as Tanzania and Afghanistan. Ibrahim is on the board of the Muslim Women's Institute, the Temple of Understanding (which aims to promote religious coexistence) and the Climate Crisis Coalition. He is also vice president of the Steering Committees of the Religious NGO Community at the UN. Ibrahim is increasingly worried about the lack of political dialogue concerning New York's poor, and the plight of those maligned by the current economic meltdown.

The extreme poor's lifelines are being pulled from them, creating a forgotten underclass no-one is addressing. This 4-6min video reveals the vital role the pantry plays in its neighbourhood, the Bronxites who are being marginalized and the stoic folks who run the pantry, despite the specter of closure remaining ever-present.

Additional footage:

  • Interview with local mother. Discusses how the local govt does nothing, but that the way the pantry is run (because they have no cash) makes her feel as if she is begging.

  • Interview with an older lady about the state of New York City now, compared to decades gone. She complains that 'we don't help others' in this country, mentioning how people have struggled through times like this for years.

  • Interview with a Spanish-speaking middle-aged man, about New York and how difficult it is for people to navigate welfare.

  • Much additional b-roll and OTF footage of the pantry, people cooking fresh food and queuing to get supplies.