Brick Kiln Workers
Brick Kiln Workers
Construction industry is highly ranked in many developing countries. High demand for building material in turn creates a huge demand for bricks. Business for bricks is booming in India and brick kiln labourers form a large portion of workers in this informal sector. Workers are mostly internal migrants from marginalized and poor communities with little employment alternatives – a combination that is rife for exploitation and discrimination. Workers have little or no knowledge of their rights and in many cases end up as bonded labour for long periods. They often fall prey to loan sharks who use labour as part of the payback.
Working and living conditions at kiln sites are extremely harsh often carried out under blazing sun and lethal combination of brick and charcoal dust. Many workers develop lung related problems as an early age. Injuries to back and spin are very common. Pay is purely based on daily wage and quite often based on the number of bricks transported to and from the kiln. At the end of the day each head load of bricks transported, ten to twelve bricks at a time, are counted and paid accordingly. So work is at a frantic rate. Whole family, including young children, would work for long hours to meet their targets. Work is very seasonal with no activity during the monsoon season.
Workers live in make shift homes in and around the kiln site for many months at a time. Accommodation is usually overcrowded, with several families living together in single room homes. Small children pass their days playing in the dusty environment as majority of them have no means to attend school.
These images were captured after befriending the workers on several sites. In this panel of images I want to show the harsh dusty conditions of work and also capture the back braking work involved in the process of manufacturing brick in this informal sector.
This set of images form part of my wider project on Brick Kiln Workers.