In the cool of a Kathmandu morning, the fresh smell of clean linen contrasts with the smelly and polluted Bishunmati river, winding through the town, just a few hundred metres ahead. Around a Chaitya*, two workers are having a chat while one of them is busy hanging up linen. They are like dozens of others workers employed in one of the launderies established in the Dhalko area, west of the Thamel area. In the sunlight, shirts, sheets, trousers and towels share a bit of wire while some workers are busy cleaning more textiles. Most of them still do laundery by hand and sometimes use their feet to properly wash linen. A good washing machine costs 84000rp (around £750). Only the bigger businesses can afford one. While some launderies price in kilos, the ones in the Dhalko area invoice depending on the article to be washed. Cleaning a shirt costs 20rp (18p), trousers 40rp (36p). It’s tough work for little money.
* A Chaitya is a small stupa.