The Street Sweepers of Jaipur By Maya Fellows

Three women in bright Sari's take photographs with tourists and ask for tips. One would think that this is how they make their money, but it's not until you notice their brooms you realise they are the street sweepers of Amer Fort.

Beena, Beena and Southina are related by blood. Unsure of their own age, they think they are roughly 40 to 45 years old, and have nine children between them. They work nine hour days together at one of Jaipur’s most famous sites. And get paid 7000 Rupee a month. To put this into perspective, that’s $140 AUD – or .55 cents an hour.

Top Left Image: Beena and Beena sitting on front step, Southina crouching behind them

All three women are happy with their job and are in perfect health. They use their saris to not only stand out among the crowd of tourists, but as protection from dust inhalation. As employees of the Amer Fort contractor, they are paid correctly and on time. However, this is not the case in every state of India.

Southina at Amer Fort

There have been instances where street sweepers have not been paid for up to four months, and have consequently gone on strike. The city then turns into a dirty, garbage filled dumb. This impact shows how important the role of a street sweeper is within the Indian community.

Devendra Singh Rathore, a local tour guide in Jaipur, explains how societal views of street sweepers has developed over time in India.

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