Photo Essay The Story Of A Rag Picker

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Listen to the untold story of Marjina - A Rag Picker. Her story will make you think twice before facing with any rag picker on a road-side. Rag pickers provides a great service to our city, but still our perspective on them is still the same. Listen and judge yourself..

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Photo Essay: The Story Of A Rag Picker :

Photo Essay: The Story Of A Rag Picker

Young waste pickers look for recyclable items at a landfill as the sun sets on the outskirts of New Delhi. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India. :

Young waste pickers look for recyclable items at a landfill as the sun sets on the outskirts of New Delhi . Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India.

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights and are exposed to deadly poisons everyday. :

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights and are exposed to deadly poisons everyday.

Six months ago, Marjina stepped off a train in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.:

Six months ago, Marjina stepped off a train in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.

She thought leaving her home in West Bengal to find work in the Indian capital would give her children a chance at a better life. But the only job she could find was as a “rag picker” — picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.:

She thought leaving her home in West Bengal to find work in the Indian capital would give her children a chance at a better life. But the only job she could find was as a “ rag picker ” — picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.

Marjina leaves for the train station after saying goodbye to her neighbors outside her rented shanty on the outskirts of New Delhi. :

Marjina leaves for the train station after saying goodbye to her neighbors outside her rented shanty on the outskirts of New Delhi .

Once Marjina stepped off a train in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye. :

Once Marjina stepped off a train in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.

The family spent their days at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle. :

The family spent their days at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.

After six months of poverty, illness and shame, they returned to that train station in New Delhi, headed back to an uncertain future to their hometown in West Bengal. :

After six months of poverty, illness and shame, they returned to that train station in New Delhi , headed back to an uncertain future to their hometown in West Bengal.

It is filthy, dangerous work, performed by millions of people across India. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India. But the work is by no means environmentally friendly, and very far from being secure.:

It is filthy, dangerous work, performed by millions of people across India. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India. But the work is by no means environmentally friendly, and very far from being secure.

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights. Every day, they are exposed to deadly poisons.:

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights. Every day, they are exposed to deadly poisons.

Marjina, who goes by only one name, and her children — daughter Murshida, 12, and 7-year-old son Shahid-ul — spent their days at a landfill in Gazipur, on the outskirts of New Delhi. :

Marjina , who goes by only one name, and her children — daughter Murshida , 12, and 7-year-old son Shahid-ul — spent their days at a landfill in Gazipur , on the outskirts of New Delhi . 

The next morning they would sit outside their single-room shanty and sort the trash into metal, plastic and paper. The children counted themselves lucky if they found a discarded toy or plastic jewelry to play with. The family earned just $26 per month. Rent was $9.:

The next morning they would sit outside their single-room shanty and sort the trash into metal, plastic and paper. The children counted themselves lucky if they found a discarded toy or plastic jewelry to play with. The family earned just $26 per month . Rent was $9.

The work took a toll on the family’s health. Marjina’s children were constantly sick. Her daughter contracted dengue fever and had to be hospitalized.:

The work took a toll on the family’s health. Marjina’s children were constantly sick. Her daughter contracted dengue fever and had to be hospitalized.

Marjina, right, and her 12-year old daughter Murshida, walk down from a landfill after working the entire day here:

Marjina , right, and her 12-year old daughter Murshida , walk down from a landfill after working the entire day here

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched a “Clean India” campaign where he asked people to help keep their surroundings tidy. But there were no benefits announced for people like Marjina.:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched a “Clean India” campaign where he asked people to help keep their surroundings tidy. But there were no benefits announced for people like Marjina .

After months of poverty, illness and shame, Marjina and her children returned to that train station in New Delhi on Nov. 18, headed back to an uncertain future in West Bengal.:

After months of poverty, illness and shame, Marjina and her children returned to that train station in New Delhi on Nov. 18, headed back to an uncertain future in West Bengal .

“I do not want my children to die in this trash,” she said. Daily wage labor back home would earn Marjina barely enough to survive. Her children, who did not go to school in New Delhi, likely won’t in West Bengal, either, though all Indian children have a right to free education. :

“I do not want my children to die in this trash,” she said. Daily wage labor back home would earn Marjina barely enough to survive. Her children, who did not go to school in New Delhi , likely won’t in West Bengal , either, though all Indian children have a right to free education.

Whatever awaits the family, Marjina said, it could not be worse than life as a rag picker in New Delhi.:

Whatever awaits the family, Marjina said, it could not be worse than life as a rag picker in New Delhi .

Young waste pickers look for recyclable items at a landfill. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India. :

Young waste pickers look for recyclable items at a landfill. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India .  

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights and are exposed to deadly poisons everyday. :

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights and are exposed to deadly poisons everyday. 

Marjina, right, segregates trash with the help of her children and a young neighbor outside their rented shanty.:

Marjina , right, segregates trash with the help of her children and a young neighbor outside their rented shanty.

Murshida, 12, right, looks at her brother Shahid-ul, 7, lying ill on a bed inside their rented shanty. The children live with their mother, a rag picker, and spend their day at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.:

Murshida , 12, right, looks at her brother Shahid-ul , 7, lying ill on a bed inside their rented shanty. The children live with their mother, a rag picker, and spend their day at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.

They arrived in New Delhi, hoping to find a better life after their father abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.:

They arrived in New Delhi , hoping to find a better life after their father abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.

A worker loads segregated trash for recycling on a truck. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India.:

A worker loads segregated trash for recycling on a truck. Rag picking is effectively the primary recycling system in India .

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights and are exposed to deadly poisons everyday.:

While the rag pickers offer invaluable services to the city, they have few rights and are exposed to deadly poisons everyday.

Murshida, 12, helps her mother Marjina lift a sackful of trash for segregation outside their rented shanty. :

Murshida , 12, helps her mother Marjina lift a sackful of trash for segregation outside their rented shanty. 

Marjina and her 12-year old daughter Murshida wait for a trash dealer to weigh their segregated trash.:

Marjina and her 12-year old daughter Murshida wait for a trash dealer to weigh their segregated trash.

Shahid-ul, 7, right, sits on a sack of trash as his mother Marjina, center, speaks to a neighbor outside their rented shanty. :

Shahid-ul , 7, right, sits on a sack of trash as his mother Marjina , center , speaks to a neighbor outside their rented shanty. 

Murshida, 12, sits on the lap of her mother Marjina as the train leaves for their village in West Bengal, at a railway station New Delhi.:

Murshida , 12, sits on the lap of her mother Marjina as the train leaves for their village in West Bengal , at a railway station New Delhi .

Marjina, right, her daughter Murshida, 12, and seven-year old brother Shahid-ul make their way towards a train station. :

Marjina , right, her daughter Murshida , 12, and seven-year old brother Shahid-ul make their way towards a train station. 

A neighbor teasingly gives a withered bouquet of flowers, found in a bag of trash, to Marjina outside their rented shanty. :

A neighbor teasingly gives a withered bouquet of flowers, found in a bag of trash, to Marjina outside their rented shanty. 

Shahid-ul, 7, sits on a sack of trash outside a shanty where he lives with his mother Marjina and sister Murshida, 12. The family spends their day at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.:

Shahid-ul , 7, sits on a sack of trash outside a shanty where he lives with his mother Marjina and sister Murshida , 12. The family spends their day at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle.

They arrived in New Delhi, hoping to find a better life after their father abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.:

They arrived in New Delhi , hoping to find a better life after their father abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.

Munna bhai, a trash dealer, hands over money to Marjina for trash she segregated, as her daughter Murshida eats sweet lemon on the outskirts of New Delhi, India.:

Munna bhai , a trash dealer, hands over money to Marjina for trash she segregated, as her daughter Murshida eats sweet lemon on the outskirts of New Delhi , India.

Marjina arrived in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.:

Marjina arrived in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye.

The family spends their day at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle, earning $26 a month.:

The family spends their day at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle, earning $26 a month.

Murshida, 12, daughter of rag picker Marjina, lies on a sack of trash after she fell ill, outside their rented shanty.:

Murshida , 12, daughter of rag picker Marjina , lies on a sack of trash after she fell ill, outside their rented shanty.

Marjina, 12, is taken to a hospital on a cart used to carry trash, outside their rented shanty.:

Marjina , 12, is taken to a hospital on a cart used to carry trash, outside their rented shanty.

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