Mohammad Humayun built this footwear factory from scratch. He used to work in a footwear factory. Now, Humayun doesn't only own the factory; he works here as well.
Humayun's factory, Bijoy Footwear, manufactures cheap plastic shoes for the domestic market. All his products go to the retail shoe market outside of Dhaka, and people from low income groups are the main buyers. Shoes produced here are sold for Tk80 to Tk90. Besides making sandals mostly, Bijoy Footwear also makes footwear of various other designs.
Humayun's factory, located in Kamrangirchar, used to have around 50 to 55 workers. During the pandemic-induced economic fallout, orders for footwear fell drastically. As a result, 30 workers lost their jobs. Now, there are 20 workers, and the owner is struggling to keep the factory afloat.
Last September, while talking to the photographer, Humayun broke into tears in despair. He barely received any orders. He didn't know when things would become bearable again.
He used to produce six thousand pairs of footwear in this factory every day before the pandemic, which has now reduced to two thousand pairs per day.
Two of Humayun's children are studying in medical and engineering schools. He is worried about managing the tuition fees for them.
If the footwear market returns to normalcy again, the workers are likely to return and join work. For the time being, hope is the only thing left for Humayun.
Salahuddin Ahmed is a Staff Photo Journalist working for The Business Standard.