“Easing of lockdown” does NOT mean “Easing of Mask Usage”
Help us donate masks to children and adults in need.
-100% cotton masks
-Sourced from women’s groups
-Based on MoHFW design guidelines
-For distribution in Mumbai and Delhi slums
-Includes tutorials on usage and safe practices
Even as people try to get back to earning a livelihood and step out of their homes, usage of masks and vigilance against the virus is even more important and critical while saving livelihoods. There is a feeling of lethargy and laxity coming with easing of the lockdown. It is important that we continue to promote awareness of mask usage for safety and distribution of masks amongst the needy. “Easing of lockdown” does NOT mean “Easing of Mask Usage”.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, but the impact on some of us is disproportionate, compared to others. Informal settlements or urban slums are experiencing a greater surge in Covid-19 cases than other urban neighbourhoods in Mumbai, Delhi and other major cities - mainly because of the high per capita density, narrow streets and many people per room - making it impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.
While many of us have the money, job security and the WFH option to stay at home, there are others who are far less fortunate. The poor in our country (especially the poor in metro cities) are having to face a terrible onslaught waged by the combined forces of Covid-19 & unemployment. While being out of work and severely cash-crunched is a curse on its own, right now it is being compounded by the fact that the poor are not being able to do enough to firstly, protect themselves with wearing masks and secondly, get themselves treated if infected.
The informal settlements or urban slums suffer from a high per capita density, narrow streets, and more than six people per room - making it impossible to follow social distancing guidelines. One of the small but significant ways in which people living in slums can defend themselves in the fight against the Coronavirus is through continuous use of masks. However, due to low per capita incomes - for many in the informal settlements - it is often a choice between food or masks. Where masks are available, men - working outside the house - tend to prioritize their usage - often leaving the more vulnerable segments of families - women and children - to go without or use not-very-effective alternatives like dupattas and handkerchiefs. And quite often, the masks used by this segment are of lower quality and families lack the knowledge on usage and care - thereby negating the impact of masks.
Some of us women alumni of Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) have come together to form a group 'IIM Women for Social Action' and want to help our less fortunate brethren have a fair shot at surviving this pandemic. One of the simplest ways to do this - is to provide reusable, washable, cotton masks to families living in urban slums - along with education on how to use these hygienically basis the limited resources available to them (think of no running water, no easy access to power, little to no soap). Additionally, we also want to make sure that these masks are sourced responsibly - and provide livelihoods for underprivileged women - so we are sourcing them from women working with reputed women’s groups.
- We request your support to help provide 50,000 cotton, reusable masks to families residing in slums / low income communities in Mumbai (K-West Ward and M-Ward) & Delhi (Nizamuddin Basti and Sanjay Colony). We are tapping into our robust on-ground networks in these slums that will help distribute these masks to those who need them the most and also help ensure education on mask usage and hygiene. We will endeavour to provide 2 masks per adult and 4 masks per children (as childrens masks get dirty faster). However, we tentatively expect to cover 7500 children and 10000 adults through this drive. We will modify these numbers based on the actual populations we encounter in the neighbourhoods.
- The funds collected will help us source masks in a responsible manner - creating livelihood for women and help create the first line of defence against COVID-19 for underprivileged fellow citizens. The project provides livelihoods to mask makers in both cities as well as rural areas. It is likely to benefit approximately 40 families who make masks. Further, it will also provide income to those who distribute the masks. College students / young unemployed people from the same neighbourhoods will earn Rs 2 per mask distributed. We expect to employ 10 such students.
We will also create an awareness campaign which will be shared to promote mask usage and help people understand that “easing of lockdown” does not mean “easing of mask usage”.
This is a continuation of the MasksforMumbai Project where we manufactured and distributed 30k+ masks in Mumbai.