Wliar Rahman, a 47-year-old primary school teacher in Mirpur sub-district in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, lives with his wife and two children, and is constantly having to borrow money to get by.
He describes his financial situation as “miserable”, and worries about the cost of educating his children and the rise in the price of basic necessities; he does not believe he will be better off in a year’s time.
Name: Wliar Rahman
Location: Paikpara area in the capital Dhaka
Does your spouse/partner live with you? Yes
What is your primary job? Primary school teacher
What is your monthly salary? Around $60 per month
What is your household’s total income - including your partner’s salary, and any additional sources? $75
How many people are living in your household - what is their relationship to you? Four: my wife, a son, and a daughter.
How many are dependent on you/your partner's income - what is their relationship to you? Four- all family members.
How much do you spend each month on food? $50
What is your main staple - how much does it cost each month? Rice/$15
How much do you spend on rent? I used to pay $25 in rent each month. Recently the school provided me with a two-room home on the school premises.
How much on transport? About $10 per month.
How much do you spend on educating your children each month? Around $20.
After you have paid all your bills each month, how much is left? Nothing.
Have you or any member of the household been forced to skip meals or reduce portion sizes in the last three months? Not yet. However, we have reduced portion sizes.
Have you been forced to borrow money (or food) in the last three months to cover basic household needs? Yes
“Over the past few months, my money has run out on the 20th of each month and I have had no choice but to borrow from family and friends.
“In recent years, the price of everything has almost doubled while my salary remains the same. How am I supposed to manage?
“Each month I need to borrow money to get by, but I don’t know how I will ever be able to repay it.
“It is almost impossible to buy food with $55 a month [out of his monthly income of $75] but I have no other choice. To get by, I cut back on more nutritious foods.
“The problem with people like me is that we cannot lead a life like a rickshaw puller. I’m a school teacher and need to wear good clothes and send my children to school. How am I supposed to do that on the same income as a rickshaw puller?
“Fish and vegetables used to be cheaper in Bangladesh, but the price of these items is abnormally high. No vegetables are available for less than 40 Bangladeshi takas [50 US cents] per kg and you can’t buy fish for less than $1.5.
“If prices continue this way, I’m afraid I won’t be able to manage three meals a day for my family... We have nothing to do but await the worst.”