People living in the bastis in Bhopal are involved in different kinds of occupations – scrappicking, domestic work, selling fruits and vegetables, sorting of vegetables in mandis, stitching on piecemeal basis, making bidis, leather toys, doing puppet performances, digging pits and pipelines, breaking stone, going for cleaning fields and harvesting as per season, pasting boxes, carrying lights in marriages, driving, loading-unloading work, doing tin repair work, sharpening of knives and other instruments, cooking and washing utensils in events, making dholaks, making dung-cakes, selling balloons and trinkets in fairs and zardosi work.
Efforts to calculate monthly incomes have always been difficult because earnings fluctuate greatly. The fluctuations occur because sometimes it is dependent on getting a client to buy your wares or skill, and sometimes it is dependent on the contractor to get orders which he can pass on to the people. Thus, sometimes a person may not earn for a few days at a stretch, and sometimes could earn anything between Rs. 20 to Rs. 150. The earnings are only enough to survive in a compromised manner (not adequate to cover everyone’s hunger and nutritional needs). Muskaan provides training in additional skills, such as broom and paperbag making.