For the past two decades, the Pardada Pardadi Education Society (PPES) is taking the lead in the holistic empowerment of women and girls in a small town of western Uttar Pradesh, Anupshahr. With the spirit of serving the society whatever the situation may be, PPES once again has proved to be an institution of public importance in and around Anupshahr amidst the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The economic empowerment wing of PPES-I Village, through its industrial unit, has produced over 5,000 masks as their part in the battle against the coronavirus. It all began with an idea of self-protection. When the Delhi team of PPES visited I Village premises in mid-March, it found that neither masks are available in the area nor there’s an awareness about the preventive measures amongst the employees and the people living around the area in concern. Consequently, PPES decided to manufacture face masks alongside running an awareness program amongst the employees about the preventive measures against the deadly virus.
On 18th March, just a week before the pan-India lockdown was announced, I Village halted their regular production and made all the employees learn how to produce fabric masks. Within a couple of days, I Village started receiving corporate orders from a number of MSMEs. The social enterprise continued to produce masks until the prime minister announced the national lockdown on 24th March.
The cessation of production had an adverse impact on the finances of the women working at I Village. Consequently, with the authorities’ approval, the employees of the industry started producing cotton face masks from the comfort of their homes. Earlier, the authorities discouraged the use of cotton face masks but later recommended the same for public use.
I am so happy that my stitching skill is coming to the best use during the time of this difficulty, Sashi (a producer of face mask)
Interestingly, as soon as the production began, I Village started receiving orders exponentially from some of India’s large corporates. Being a responsible social organization, it also donated masks to local authorities, including the police. Moreover, PPES has also offered its schoolpremises to the government for setting up a 150-bed quarantine facility.
Meanwhile, I Village has set up a small unit in a nearby temple where the employees are selflessly training all the women who want to earn by making masks. On 14th April, the industry launched the ‘Train the Trainer’ program, where women from the villages can learn the process to produce the masks.
Along with generating earnings for rural women of Anupshahr, we are also giving a tough fight to the corona, Arya Singh, Head, I Village.
As of 15th April, the women of I Village have masked over 5,000 people in Delhi-NCR and Anupshahr and the villages around it. Around 30 women are engaged in producing the masks, while almost ten people are involved in training and transporting the manufactured face masks. I Village is now aiming to produce 5 lakh three-layered cotton masks in the near future.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has halted India’s overall economy, which is impacting millions of people, especially those who work on daily wages. While most of the people are looking up to the government for help, institutions like PPES are utilizing the best in the given conditions to serve the people at this difficult juncture. The production of face masks by the Village is not only helping India in its fight against the pandemic but also ensuring the economic wellness of the people living in villages around Anupshahr.
The story was first published here!