Tailor stalls do a swift trade at Friday labour camp bazaars

The five Bangladeshis haul their Singer machines to the camp at 7am and stay until dusk.

Bangladeshi Mohammed Sanwar Khan, who works as a cleaner, sews cloths at Icad to make ends meet, as his wages fail to keep pace with inflation. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National
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Anwar Ahmad

ABU DHABI // At one corner of the Friday markets set up at labour camps, five labourers-turned-tailors are busy stitching and mending clothes on a row of sewing machines.

The five haul their Singer machines to the camp at 7am and stay until dusk.

“I generally sew clothes that are torn. Workers bring them here for alterations, so that they can wear them again because they cannot afford to buy new ones,” says Bangladeshi Abdul Awwal.

He is mending an old construction uniform in front of Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (Icad).

“I make them wearable, adding fabric patches of similar colours,” says Mr Awwal, who brought the machine here from Bangladesh.

He earns about Dh70 to Dh100 for a day’s work at the bazaar, which supplements the Dh650 a month from his other job.

He lives in another labour camp in Mussaffah.

“For repairing a uniform, I charge Dh10 but it also depends on the work.

“If the work is not that much, I can take Dh5 too,” says Mr Awwal, 32, who has worked in ducting for an Abu Dhabi-based company since 2011.

“We get an off day on Friday, so I sit here repairing clothes to support my expenses because my salary is scant,” he says.

Beside him is compatriot Shri Litan, 26, whose regular job is as a welder for which he earns Dh800 a month.

Mr Litan charges Dh2 to Dh3 for alterations and can earn about Dh70 in a day at the market.

“I come every Friday and stitch mostly old shirts, pants and trousers. I learnt this back home.”

Beside him is Mohammed Sanwar Khan, 28, from Bangladesh, who is stitching a green uniform for a labourer outside the Icad camp.

“I earn Dh600 as a cleaner and it is not sufficient because of inflation. I have to send money for my family and parents every month.

“I earn about Dh100 but sometimes the income reaches up to Dh200 in a day.”