karim Karim Mostafa

Karim Mostafa is a Swedish-Egyptian photographer based in Beirut. His work captures people and societies in transformation. He has worked in countries like Egypt, Libya, Bangladesh, India and Lebanon; photographed revolutions, inspiring people and everyday life; and published his photos in publications such as American VICE, The Caravan in India, Denmark’s Politiken, Norway’s Aftenposten, Finland’s Hufvudstadsbladet and Swedish media including Sydsvenskan, SvD, Amnesty Press and Vi Läser.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery
Savar, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
15 Mar 2014

One year ago, on April 24 2013, the Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building, collapsed in Savar, a sub-district of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The building hosted clothing factories, a bank, apartments, and several other shops. 1,129 people died and approximately 2,515 people were injured. The incident was the deadliest ever in the history of the Bangladesh garment industry.

Today, injured survivors are learning to live again despite physical injuries, including amputated limbs, and psychological trauma. This story looks into the victims’ lives one year after the tragedy; from the ongoing work of the garment factories to the only physiotherapy clinic in Bangladesh, where some of the lucky survivors are receiving treatment.

Media created

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 5
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

Rehanna, who had one of her legs amputated, is now getting accustomed to walking with her artificial leg at a physiotherapy clinic in Savar. 9 year-old Monira lives in the room next to her – her father also lost one of his legs in the accident.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 10
By Karim Mostafa
19 Apr 2014

Amjad Hussein, who worked on the fourth floor of the Rana Plaza, remembers falling and feeling an incredible pain. Then, everything went black. When he regained consciousness eleven days later, both of his legs were missing. He's now trying his new prosthetic legs for the first time.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 13
By Karim Mostafa
17 Apr 2014

Amjad Hussein lost both his legs in the Rana Plaza accident. He's now trying his new legs for the first time. "I feel strange, like I'm floating. Not connected to the ground. But God gave me my life back."

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Rana Plaza and the long recovery 11
By Karim Mostafa
17 Apr 2014

Hasina used to work on the 6th floor of Rana Plaza. The building's four upper floors had been constructed illegally. It was built without observing proper building codes and laws, and using poor materials. Hasina's arm was hurt when the building collapsed. She neither can nor want to go back to "the garments".

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 4
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

Amjad Hussein, who worked on the fourth floor of the Rana Plaza, remembers falling and feeling an incredible pain. Then, everything went black. After having been unconscious for 11 days, he woke up with his both legs missing.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 12
By Karim Mostafa
17 Apr 2014

Shilpy says the employees didn't want to enter the building on the morning the building collapsed – they had seen the cracks. But the management told them it was safe, and said that if they didn't work, they salary wouldn't be paid. She is now staying at a rehabilitation clinic, getting accustomed to her new artificial leg.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 15
By Karim Mostafa
15 Mar 2014

In a small alley, not far from the hospital where victims were brought, survivors have a chance at a better future. A small factory was opened by two volunteer rescuers. Profits are divided between the employees.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 16
By Karim Mostafa
15 Mar 2014

In a small alley, not far from the hospital where victims were brought, survivors have a chance at a better future. A small factory was opened by two volunteer rescuers. Profits are divided between the employees.

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 3
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

Rehanna, who used to work in Rana Plaza, lost one of her legs in the accident.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 14
By Karim Mostafa
16 Apr 2014

Younus Ali and his daughter. The man had never heard of Rana Plaza until the morning of April 24, 2013. He was visiting a nephew in Savar when he heard the sound of the building collapsing. He ran to building and joined local rescuers who were the first on the site. He saved three people before being hit unconscious. Today, he cannot move the lower part of his body.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 8
By Karim Mostafa
19 Apr 2014

One year after the Rana Plaza collapsed, people are still digging through the rubble.

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 6
By Karim Mostafa
19 Apr 2014

The location where the eight-story building Rana Plaza once stood.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 9
By Karim Mostafa
19 Apr 2014

Signs saying "Rana Plaza, Tazreen – Never Again", on the site where Rana Plaza used to be.

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 1
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

One year after the tragedy, the rubbles of the Rana Plaza building are still there. Dusty pieces of jeans and flowery cloth, strewn across the remnants of what used to be ceilings and floors. Street kids roam around the rubbles searching for pieces of iron and other things they can sell.

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Rana Plaza and The Long Recovery 2
By Karim Mostafa
21 Apr 2014

Zinnahtul Islam, a football player in the Savar team, is one of many local volunteer rescue workers. He is holding the photo of a woman he rescued.

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Rana Plaza and the Long Recovery 7
By Karim Mostafa
19 Apr 2014

Nurjahan Begum had two daughters working in Rana Plaza. The youngest, is alive – the other one is still missing.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (1 of 24)
Kushtia, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2013

Brick fields are dispersed throughout the country. Many can be found in the midst of valuable forests or environmentally sensitive areas, like Cox’s Bazaar or Rangamati. The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Kushtia, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (2 of 24)
Kushtia, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2013

The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Kushtia, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (3 of 24)
Kushtia, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
21 Feb 2013

According to the law, no brick fields can be set up within five kilometers from residing areas but these regulations are not followed. Many fields are next to houses and schools, such as this one, which is right outside a village. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Kushtia, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (4 of 24)
Kushtia, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2013

A man uses the heat generated from the kilns to cook lunch. Workers often live together on the site. Food is cooked and eaten communally. The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Kushtia, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (5 of 24)
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
28 Jan 2013

Establishing a brick field is a straightforward process which makes it attractive for investors because it does not require lots of experience. The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Faridpur, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (6 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Jan 2013

Traditional brick fields like this one produce around 5,000 bricks per day. The new, more efficient, kilns can produce up to 40,000 bricks per day, according to UNDP. The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (7 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Jan 2013

The government was supposed to stop issuing licenses to traditional kilns by September 2012, but most brick fields are still using old methods that continue to pollute the environment. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (8 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Jan 2013

Many workers suffer from bronchitis or coughing because of the dust generated in the brick-making process. The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (9 of 24)
Savar, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Feb 2013

To a large extent, women have been leading Bangladesh's development. In both public and family life, women have taken on a new economic role, and are increasingly impacting decision-making processes. Savar, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (10 of 24)
Savar, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Feb 2013

Improving the situation in the brick-making industry would be an important step for Bangladesh in the country's efforts to enhance human development. Big improvements have been made during the past decades: between 2000 and 2010, the number of people living in poverty declined from 63 million to 47 million. Savar, Bangladesh. January 2013. View the full collection here: http://transterramedia.com/collections/1201

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Bricks of Bangladesh (11 of 24)
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
27 Jan 2013

In 2010, UNDP Bangladesh launched a five-year program to transform the brick-making industry and replace old and inefficient kilns with new ones, friendly to the environment. Faridpur, Bangladesh. January 2013. View the full collection here: http://transterramedia.com/collections/1201

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Bricks of Bangladesh (12 of 24)
Kushtia, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
20 Feb 2013

Bangladesh is one of the countries in the world that's hit hardest by climate change. Lowering the level of carbon emissions ought to be top priority. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Kushtia, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (13 of 24)
Jhalakati, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
28 Dec 2012

The brick fields are the largest emitter of greenhouse gas in Bangladesh. More than 6.4 million tons are generated each year by the industry. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Jhalakati, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (14 of 24)
Jhalakati, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
27 Dec 2012

Bangladesh has the second worst air pollution in the world, according to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index. One of the biggest contributors to the unclean air is the brick-making industry. Most fields use coal or wood to burn the bricks, both of which are very bad for the environment. Jhalakati, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (15 of 24)
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
27 Jan 2013

Women often do monotonous work and suffer from illnesses related to bad working conditions. One specific problem is diseases in the reproductive organs, which are caused by long hours spent squatting in the same position. Faridpur, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (16 of 24)
Jhalakati, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
27 Dec 2012

Today, brick making is Bangladesh's fastest growing industry. Its popularity is partly due to the fact that it's so easy to start up a field: a small piece of land and between 40-50 000 taka ($500-$650) is all that's needed. The revenue within six months is up to five times that amount. Jhalakati, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (17 of 24)
Faridpur, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
28 Jan 2013

Many of the Bangladesh's ancient cities were made entirely out of bricks. The cities of Bangladesh are growing fast and there's a never-ending need for cheap and available construction material. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Faridpur, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (18 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
11 Jan 2013

Most work on the fields is done manually, from digging up the mud to forming the bricks, leaving them to dry and burning them in large kilns. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (19 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Jan 2013

Many children like Shuhun work in the fields alongside the grownups. Often, they take care of forming the mud into bricks using metal and wooden forms. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (20 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
09 Jan 2013

During recent years, brick making has expanded rapidly in Bangladesh, especially in the area around Dhaka. Today, there are over 10 000 fields in the country – a doubling from ten years ago. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (21 of 24)
Bandarband, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Jan 2013

The workers' salaries differ. The more bricks they carry or burn in the kilns, the more they get paid. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (22 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
08 Jan 2013

Conditions at the fields are tough. The brick-making generates a lot of dust, which affects everyone working at the site as well as people living nearby. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (23 of 24)
Bandarban, Bangladesh
By Karim Mostafa
09 Jan 2013

Many workers come from rural areas where agriculture no longer can provide for the growing workforce. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.

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Bricks of Bangladesh (24 of 24)
Bangladesh, Bandarban
By Karim Mostafa
09 Jan 2013

The workers work only six months per year: during the summer monsoon months, no bricks can be produced. Bricks are the most efficient and widely used building material and new brick buildings are erected across the country. Bandarban, Bangladesh. January 2013.