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The cost of poverty

The poor in the city pay more for services, as contractors charge more to install facilities in areas with poor housing. They are also more vulnerable to theft, crime and ill-health.

Kishore and Nazeer are particularly careful to explain some of the extra expenses incurred by the poor who live in unplanned, poorly serviced urban settlements.

Those living on and around Manchar Lake describe how they are plagued by water-borne disease; their expenditure on healthcare has made them even more vulnerable to money-lending traders.

Karim Bux
describes how poor farmers like him are penalised for having to buy fertiliser on credit: “They charge 200 rupees extra…”


The cost of poverty is a key theme of the Living with poverty: Pakistan oral testimony project.


Allah Bux: older generation

Basran: desperate times

Chhutta: migrant’s tale

Fatima: vulnerable lives

Hodat: diversifying business

Karim Bux: lacking support

Khamiso: looking back

Kishore: living prudently

Mircho: losing dignity

Nasreen: just surviving

Nazeer: high standards

Salma: independent spirit

Key themes

Introduction to the project

Loans and debt

Survival strategies

The cost of poverty

Environmental decline


Political representation


Insecurity and conflict


Food security and health