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Masks for Mumbai

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, India - mainly because of the high per capita density, narrow streets and many 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 kerchiefs. 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 '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 for families living in these informal neighbourhoods - 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 in and around Mumbai - so we plan to source them from women working with reputed women’s groups in this area.

We request your support to help provide 30000 cotton, reusable masks to families in underprivileged communities in Mumbai. We plan to tap our robust on-ground networks in some of these informal neighbourhoods, that will help distribute these masks to those who need them the most and also help ensure education on mask usage and hygiene. 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 our under privileged fellow citizens.

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6th July 2020
Dear Sir/Madam,

We would like to thank you for your contribution towards #MasksforMumbai - helping to provide cotton, reusable masks to families in underprivileged communities in Mumbai. We want to take this opportunity to provide an update on the progress so far.

We  launched the campaign in late May and with the contribution of many like-minded people like you, we were able to raise the required amount by mid-June.

We focussed on 3 main aspects:
  1. Sourcing responsibly - we worked with 3 social enterprises and helped provide incomes to 35-40 people, most of which are women
  2. Distribution - Identifying areas where we have Feet on Street and can get distribution done in a reliable manner
  3. Education - Educating the mask wearers on usage and care of reusable masks

Progress Update (as of 27th June 2020)

We have so far successfully distributed 20,000 masks in the K-West ward (slum neighbourhoods in Andheri, Jogeshwari, Versova). Distribution was done by "Sitaras" (talented and bright college students) from the NGO which Deepa Krishnan runs, it is called SPJIMR-Abhyudaya, and the Sitaras live in the same neighbourhoods. They not only distributed masks in their own areas, but also explained the importance of masks and how to use them. We provided PPE gear to the Sitaras to ensure their safety. The Sitaras were happy to be able to help their community with something useful, and at the same time earn money for the distribution work; the payment covered actual distribution work, education and collecting information like phone numbers etc.

For many people in the K-West ward slums, these were the first masks they had access to. Several women were just using sari pallu/dupattas and men were using kerchiefs/gamchas. Worst of all, many children had no masks. The Sitaras distributed 2 masks per family member. Parents were willing to forgo their own masks in exchange for more masks for their children. Based on this learning, we plan to increase the proportion for children’s masks for the next phase.

After the distribution, we are also sending follow-up / reminder messages about mask usage via SMS and WhatsApp messaging. We will complete production and distribution of 25,000 masks in a week's time.

What’s next?

After talking to the Sitaras, we can see that phase #1 of 25000 masks distribution was a small step to provide the first line of defence for our less privileged brethren. The photos of dense small lanes, and the large number of people without any masks or social distancing, show us the enormity of the problem at hand.

Keeping this in mind, we plan to kick off Phase #2 of the MasksforMumbai campaign where we will target distributing 1 lac masks to those who cannot afford them. We hope to count on your support in that journey as well. More details to follow soon.

Once again, we want to offer our thanks for your support and hope that this update gave you a glimpse into the huge difference that your donation has made to those who are less privileged.

With gratitude,
Team #MasksforMumbai
Dear Sir/Madam,

We would like to thank you for your contribution towards #MasksforMumbai - helping to provide cotton, reusable masks to families in underprivileged communities in Mumbai. We want to take this opportunity to provide an update on the progress so far.

We  launched the campaign in late May and with the contribution of many like-minded people like you, we were able to raise the required amount by mid-June.

We focussed on 3 main aspects:
  1. Sourcing responsibly - we worked with 3 social enterprises and helped provide incomes to 35-40 people, most of which are women
  2. Distribution - Identifying areas where we have Feet on Street and can get distribution done in a reliable manner
  3. Education - Educating the mask wearers on usage and care of reusable masks

Progress Update (as of 27th June 2020)

We have so far successfully distributed 20,000 masks in the K-West ward (slum neighbourhoods in Andheri, Jogeshwari, Versova). Distribution was done by "Sitaras" (talented and bright college students) from the NGO which Deepa Krishnan runs, it is called SPJIMR-Abhyudaya, and the Sitaras live in the same neighbourhoods. They not only distributed masks in their own areas, but also explained the importance of masks and how to use them. We provided PPE gear to the Sitaras to ensure their safety. The Sitaras were happy to be able to help their community with something useful, and at the same time earn money for the distribution work; the payment covered actual distribution work, education and collecting information like phone numbers etc.

For many people in the K-West ward slums, these were the first masks they had access to. Several women were just using sari pallu/dupattas and men were using kerchiefs/gamchas. Worst of all, many children had no masks. The Sitaras distributed 2 masks per family member. Parents were willing to forgo their own masks in exchange for more masks for their children. Based on this learning, we plan to increase the proportion for children’s masks for the next phase.

After the distribution, we are also sending follow-up / reminder messages about mask usage via SMS and WhatsApp messaging. We will complete production and distribution of 25,000 masks in a week's time.

What’s next?

After talking to the Sitaras, we can see that phase #1 of 25000 masks distribution was a small step to provide the first line of defence for our less privileged brethren. The photos of dense small lanes, and the large number of people without any masks or social distancing, show us the enormity of the problem at hand.

Keeping this in mind, we plan to kick off Phase #2 of the MasksforMumbai campaign where we will target distributing 1 lac masks to those who cannot afford them. We hope to count on your support in that journey as well. More details to follow soon.

Once again, we want to offer our thanks for your support and hope that this update gave you a glimpse into the huge difference that your donation has made to those who are less privileged.

With gratitude,
Team #MasksforMumbai
Rs.71,646 raised

Goal: Rs.1,000,000

Beneficiary: IIMWSA Group info_outline

Supporters (14)

A
Arun donated Rs.2,500
KG
Kanika donated Rs.3,000
PB
Pritha donated S$116

Hope this helps people in need.

PK
Prabha donated Rs.10,000
A
Anonymous donated Rs.3,000
ps
priya donated Rs.2,500

Kudos to your efforts!!