Dhakaiya Profession

Bottle Cleaner

Posted in bottle cleaners by rrasheeka on February 20, 2009

Photography: Salman Saeed

I noticed a very interesting profession in Old Dhaka. The profession is that of a bottle cleaner. Interestingly, these bottle cleaners are all women. The bottles that they clean are medicine bottles. These bottles come in sacks. There are hundreds of bottles in one sack. The sacks are of three sizes. The amount a bottle cleaner earns per day depends on the size of the bottle. The cleaner who cleans the bottles of the biggest sack earns tk. 40, the cleaner who cleans the medium sized bottle earns tk. 35 and the cleaner who cleans the bottles of the smallest sack earns tk. 30.

Although the income is not quite satisfactory, most of the women are satisfied with the fact that at least they have a source of income. As only women work in the place, the family members of these women have no objection in their working in this job. Old Dhaka is a very traditional and conservative area. Compared to men, hardly any women can be seen working. So, the fact that these bottle cleaners were all women made me feel better in the sense that it reflected a form of women empowerment to me. But then again, on the other hand, many may argue that women are hired to do this work because then they can be paid less. Men would not work from 7 o’clock in the morning to 7 o’clock at night with only tk. 30-40 per day. Whatever it is, this is a source of earning for some people and their livelihood depend on this.


3 Responses

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  1. natasha said, on April 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    it’s a good thing that such a place exists where only women work. In this way, women are going to feel more comfortable.

  2. Limana Solaiman said, on April 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    I had no idea that there was such a way for women in Bangladesh to feel empowered!
    I have never heard of this profession and I think it is very interesting that you have taken the time out to write about these fortunate yet unfortunate women since I also noticed that they earn a meager amount.
    Please keep on writing about these unique professions, I really like the tone of your blog.


  3. karabi said, on July 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    what a stupid job.
    human beings are not made for doing this crap.
    and who are the employer ?? someone who doesnt have a brain!
    is there nothing better to do ??
    its totally sick to see how my beautiful bangladeshi girls are being exploited ..

    why everything is so ugly ??
    why someone just dont cleanup this mess??

    why all these poor people dont take a pc of bangladesh ??
    because i would encourage them to take what is belong to them and i would wipe out that sad look on their face,

    all the poor people in bangladesh , wake up , be proud of who you are . hate your social system , seek for a saviour ….

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