Asia

Working Lives: rag picker

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Media captionWorking Lives India: Rag-picker

Since she was around five years old, Kamlaben Parmar has worked as a rag picker, collecting any pieces of rubbish, mostly plastic and paper, from the streets that can be sold.

Ms Parmar's parents died when she was very young and she says she cannot remember ever doing anything else except scavenging for rubbish to sell on.

It is not an easy existence.

"People treat you very badly when you are out working," she says. "I get comments from drunk men, bitten by dogs. It's worse now than it was when I was younger.

"Of course it makes me angry. But then I think there's no point in being angry. This is the way things are."

She lives in two rooms with her unemployed son and daughter-in-law.

Recent food price rises have made life tougher and she is increasingly using relatively cheap chillies as a vegetable.

She makes around $20 a month working two shifts a day, one in the morning and one at night.

Ms Parmar says she supplements her income by giving blood for clinical research.

But while many parts of India are improving as the country develops, she feels her life has got worse.

"Now the city clears up a lot of the rubbish so there is less on the streets for us," she says.