Jana Asenbrennerova (San Francisco State University)
International Picture Story
Laxmi KC, 30, the daughter of a farmer with no formal education, is a single mother of four who works 12-hour days without proper breaks and meals on a construction site to earn a living to support her family. She married at the age of 17 and was kicked out of her husband's family house after she gave birth to three daughters but didn't provide a grandson.
Laxmi's husband left with her and the couple eventually had a son, Rajan. Just four weeks after he was born, his mother slung him over her back and went to work on a construction site. Her husband left Laxmi and the children a couple years later.
For the past eight months, Laxmi has been taking advantage of a day care provided by a local NGO, Orchid Garden, where she can leave her kids six days a week free of charge. This enables her to work longer hours and make more money to secure a better life and future for her children.
Mother Laxmi works as a construction worker in different parts of town. In this photograph, she carries bricks up to fifth floor of a building that is under construction. Without any food, she works from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a day rate of $3.50.
The family gathers together for lunch. When mother Laxmi gets work and makes enough money to buy food, they eat rice with soy beans and vegetables which she prepares at home.
The whole family gets together in the evening, playing and sharing time with each other before they go to bed.
In the evening, after a long day at work, mother Laxmi is tired and doesn't have much patience with her daughter Ambika's jokes. She snaps at her as she enters the room from a hallway.
Mother Laxmi finishes making dinner and first serves food to her son, Rajan, who holds her hand as he waits. Laxmi is unable to make dinner every day, but since she has been getting work regularly at a construction site for the past few weeks, she can cook rice with vegetables for her children.
On Saturday morning after the family returns home from a Christian church they go to regularly, mother Laxmi asks her daughter Sosthani to turn the TV down.
Mother Laxmi laughs as her daughter Kalpana (right) pulls her hand and tries to hide herself in front of monkeys that are crossing the road. The family is spending their free Saturday afternoon together, walking around a Pashupatinath temple that is close to their home.
Mother Laxmi sits on the floor of the apartment she shares with her kids. She looks out of the window for a moment during a conversation with her brother who came to visit her unexpectedly.