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Several narrators say that their poverty means they are treated with indifference at best, and more often active disdain.

Nazeer tells of petty officials who cause endless difficulties and request bribes for routine services, and how the local media ignore their problems.

Allah Bux feels his lack of work has lost him the respect of old companions, and several, including Hodat, talk of the frustration such treatment breeds:”No one listens to us.”

Mircho and Basran comment on how economic desperation undermines personal dignity.


Powerlessness 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