Coronavirus: Fifteen days, 4 lakh masks, Bandipora’s SHG Women up for challenge

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by Syed Samreen

Srinagar

The women beneficiaries of Jammu Kashmir State Rural Livelihood Mission (JKSRLM) also known as ‘Umeed’ are doing their bit in present crisis by helping produce much-needed masks. Working in small Self Help Groups (SHG), these women have halted their regular works to produce face masks after district administrations asked them to do so.

Working in small Self Help Groups (SHG), these women have halted their regular works to produce face masks. KL Image: Special arrangement

Hundreds of women from different SHG’s in-district Bandipora are working non-stop to meet the challenging deadline of producing 4 lakh masks in 15 days time.

To everyone’s surprise, within three days of the start, these women have already produced over 37,000 masks.

The district administration has identified SHG’s from three key blocks from the district i.e. Sumbal, Hajin and Bandipora. “Sumbal is taking the lead as over 70 percent of the masks are made in this block only,” said Arif Jan, Block Program Manager.

Women Fighters

Every woman who is part of this special manufacturing drive is given the required material and other necessary items at home.

“This initiative has given these women a purpose in life and an opportunity to prove their talent,” said Hasina Qasim, Coordinator JKSRLM and programme in-charge.

It takes 5 to 6 minutes to make one face mask and at this rate, the women collectively make between 2000 and 3000 masks every day.

“Their dedication is commendable. There are women who are working till late hours,” said Hasina. “I am sure they will achieve the set target within the deadline.”

These SHG’s help women generate their own livelihood and become socially and economically independent. “In Sumbal block this scheme helps 4928 women earn their livelihood,” said Hasina.

Kashmir’s Mask Manager

The idea behind the initiative is to provide every household in the district face masks so that the spread of Coronavirus is stopped. “These masks will be distributed among people across Bandipora,” said Riyaz Ahmad Beigh, Assistant Commissioner Revenue.

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