Indian brick layers show strength

Shanti Bai takes a limited break from her work. Bai was constantly running back and forth with bricks. Photo| Matthew Masin

Story by Carly Shinn

Shanti Bai paid 15 rupees, or 35 cents, for a one-hour bus ride to New Delhi. She spent the next eight hours working to build an entryway to one of its parks.

The three red brick walls are being constructed with wood poles for scaffolding and just a hammer and trowel. No levels, no fancy blueprints.

Bai and the two men working with her received their job assignment from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. MCD is among the largest municipal bodies in the world and provides civic services to more than 13.8 million citizens in the capital city.

A mother of four, Bai does a majority of the labor required to build the structure. From carrying bricks on her head to mixing cement with her hands, Bai will continue to work on the project until its completion. For one week of work she will earn 200 rupees, or $4.50.

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