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.

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