Meeting the shortfall in masks, sanitizers and protective equipment
Now, more than ever, these women – many of whom escaped poverty through the SHG route and know what it is like to be destitute and poor – are living up to their motto of self-help and solidarity.
Groups across the country are working furiously to make up the shortfall of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). In Odisha, for instance, poor rural women who were once engaged in stitching school uniforms are sewing masks instead. Over the past couple of weeks, these women have produced more than 1 million cotton masks, helping equip police personnel and health workers, while earning something for themselves.
All told, more than 19 million masks have been produced by some 20,000 SHGs across 27 Indian states, in addition to over 100,000 liters of sanitizer and nearly 50,000 liters of hand wash. Since production is decentralized, these items have reached widely-dispersed populations without the need for complex logistics and transportation.