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Occupation: Domestic maid and flower band maker
Earns: About $22 (12) per month - husband earns $54 (30)
Home: Hut by railway tracks, with no toilet or water
Time in slum: 16 years - hopes for relocation in Dharavi
Residents in Vimla's neighbourhood do not have easy access to water

I came to stay with relatives in Dharavi when I was six, got married when I was 16 and gave birth to my first daughter soon after. She is now 11 years old. I have two more daughters, aged nine and five.

Both my husband and I work and we try to share our responsibilities equally. I work as a domestic maid and he works in an aluminium vessel manufacturing company.

Everyday I wake up at 6am and finish off the household work such as getting my children ready for school, cooking food and preparing a lunchbox for my husband.

I work for about three-and-a-half hours in a home nearby, where I clean and dust and wash vessels and clothes.

I return home by about 1.30pm. Then I make flower bands to earn some extra money. I cook dinner and supervise my children's studies.

My husband returns home around 8pm and then we walk for about 10 minutes to get water for our use the next day.

I don't have a direct water supply in my house - none of the houses in my area have a tap with running water. All of us must cross the railway tracks to get it.

We don't earn enough money for our expenses and often end up borrowing. Right now, I owe a lender 15,000 rupees ($327/177). I pay 1,500 rupees ($33/18) as interest and he hasn't even started deducting anything from my loan amount yet.

Most of the money is spent on medicines for my girls because I want to give them the best possible treatment. That sometimes means I have to take to them to a private doctor.

I am constantly concerned for the safety of my children and I practically lock them in the house after 6pm. Not only is it unsafe to play near the tracks but also the possibility of them being kidnapped or assaulted petrifies me.

Vimla hanging out washing
Vimla at home


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