Altaf Masih, a sanitary worker and resident of Joseph Colony, a neighbourhood in Lahore, sat on a mattress in a single room that houses his entire family. It was an afternoon in July. The walls, painted a warm brown, displayed family portraits and paintings of Jesus. Masih moved his dog to make space for three students from the environmental-activist group Team Awaaz who had just arrived—Zoya Ali, Zameer Ahmed and Anum Qayyum. “The conditions for families living in this colony are extremely challenging,” Ali said. “I am not even sure that is a strong enough word,” she added, pointing to one of Masih’s daughters. “Look at the rashes on their legs.”
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Suddaf Chaudry is a freelance journalist. She covers West Asia and South Asia.