Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak, social distancing and wearing masks has become a norm. Cases are skyrocketing with every passing day, making it even more imperative for people to adopt appropriate hygiene practices.
The National Capital has recorded over 47,102 positive cases, and over 1,900 deaths. While trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’, Delhi-based cinematographer Sourav Das(24) purchased two N-95 masks for himself and his mother. But it didn’t go down well with his mother, Laxmi, who felt that the masks - neither washable nor reusable - were too expensive at Rs 300.
This incident moved Laxmi so much that she wanted to help the underprivileged, who do not have the resources to buy masks or any other protective gear. The mother-son duo then decided to stitch and distribute free masks to the poor in Delhi, a city that is home to several Coronavirus-hotspots. In the last two months, Sourav and his mother have distributed over 2,000 masks. They have named the initiative ‘Pick One, Stay Safe.’
Helping the needy
To replicate the design of surgical masks, Laxmi studied them closely and stitched the masks. The duo has since then distributed them among domestic helps, electricians, shopkeepers and others in Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park (CR Park) area. Laxmi now makes 25-40 masks every day, using fabric provided by Sourav’s uncle, who teaches underprivileged women to make nightgowns.
These handmade masks are reusable, and can be accessed from the five vending boxes spread across different locations in Delhi. Four of these are in CR Park, while one box of masks is sent to those whose homes were destroyed in fire in the capital’s Tughlakabad area recently.
Concerned about the distribution of masks, Sourav has followed the protocol laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He has designed a mask dispenser using cardboard boxes, so that people can draw out a mask just by pulling one string that is hanging outside the box.
(Edited by Athira Nair)