Gabriel Herbas, who works at the entrance of his business to prevent people going inside during the coronavirus pandemic, upholsters a chair in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Herbas says he has more work because of the economic crisis: “Now, there’s a greater tendency to repair things because the price of clothes has gone through the roof.”
Byambadorj Davaa plows a field in Ulziit, Arkhangai province, Mongolia. Because of poor vegetation growth in summer, herders purchase grass to feed their livestock in winter from farmers like Byambadorj, who started to grow animal feed, or fodder, this year.
Karla Mora sells nitro coffee from her tricycle in San Francisco, Mexico. Mora, who avoids paying rent for her business, says, “There should be more independent projects because they don’t generate as much trash and you don’t spend on electricity. In the end, it’s sustainable – and it’s fun to be on the street.”
Murugan Jeevaratnam hammers wood to make kitchen shelves in Inuvil, Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Jeevaratnam, 73, has been working as a carpenter for 45 years and says now that he’s older, he earns his salary by doing easier work.
José Hernández varnishes a tin frame at his father’s shop in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. The Hernández family uses traditional tools and innovative techniques to create objects from tin sheets. “Sometimes, we have to use our creativity to make our tools,” Hernández says.
Manuvel Mahenthiran prepares a field to sow paddy in Adampan, Mannar district, Sri Lanka. Farmland is allocated once a year to members of farmers’ organizations registered with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Valeria Ramírez prepares pasta at a food stand in the Mercado de San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. “We are innovating a lot to distinguish ourselves,” Ramírez says. “I like it a lot because I interact with people. Every Sunday, I prepare a different dish to surprise them. It’s like a date.”
Kanakalingam Govardhanan clears the grass around Karaikal Sivan Temple in Inuvil, Jaffna, Sri Lanka. As a service, Govardhanan, a bus driver, has cleaned the temple's perimeter every day since the government imposed a travel restriction during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kamardheen Sithysameena and Kaleel Ramshiya sow black grain seeds in Adampan, Mannar district, Sri Lanka. Black grain is a profitable option for farmers because Sri Lanka restricts imports of the crop.
Ignatius Mwansa paints a molded elephant in Lusaka, Zambia. Mwansa, who has operated his business for five years, says, “I was unemployed for over three years, and I realized I have a talent that I could use to survive. So far, this has helped me look after my family.”
Arumugam Tharumaraja makes small earthenware lamps in Thirunelvely, Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Tharumaraja says exporting his pottery has been limited due to COVID-19, so he has started making lamps for a lights festival in November.
Noel Romero Sierra, who has been a blacksmith for half of his life, welds a door in Chihuahua, Mexico. Romero says the coronavirus pandemic has not affected his work: “Those of us who’ve kept our jobs are on top of the world.”
Kudakwashe Marimanzi, a member of Zimbabwe’s air force, prepares to lift debris from a helicopter that crashed into a home in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe. The crash killed all three on board and an 18-month-old resident of the home.
Sandeep Lama, Ram Magar and Raj Chhetri, from left, lay underground cables in Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu, Nepal. During the coronavirus lockdowns, workers for the Nepal Electricity Authority take advantage of the quiet streets to improve infrastructure.
Mauricio Ramírez repairs a ring at his shop in Tecámac, Mexico. Ramírez says that although his business was closed for almost four months, he was able to keep operating due to demand for face-mask materials: “What saved me was the fact that I could sell elastic.”
Juan Baez and José Luis Arribas prepare meat for customers at the Mercado de San Telmo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “I have been working here for 52 years,” Arribas says. “What I like most about this work is speaking with people. Now I’m waiting on my customers’ grandchildren.”
Oswald Mpande makes a reed mat in Luanshya, a town in Copperbelt Province, Zambia. Mpande says Luanshya has few employment opportunities and the mat-making skill he learned from his father has helped him earn a living.
Umaru Kakeeto,15, fixes an air compressor machine at a small roadside mechanic shop in Lubugumu, a village in Ndejje, Wakiso district, Uganda. Umaru will train in the shop for three months before enrolling in a vocational school in August.