Categories: Social Responsibility

Facing coronavirus: The story of mask production by I Village will surely inspire you

Since the past two decades, Pardada Pardadi Eduction Society (PPES) is taking a 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, not only amongst the employees but the people living around the area in concern. Consequently, PPES decided to manufacture face masks alongside running an awareness programme amongst the employees about the preventive measures against the deadly virus. 

On 18th March, just a week before 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 national lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on 24th March.

The cessation of production had an adverse impact on the finances of the women working at I Village. Consequently, with the approval of the authorities, 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 the large corporates in India. Being a responsible social organisation, it also donated masks to local authorities including the police. Moreover, PPES has also offered its school premises to the government for setting up a 150-bed quarantine facility.

Meanwhile, I Village has set up a small unit in nearby temple where the employees are selflessly training all the women who want to earn by making masks. On 14th April, the industry launched ‘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 Anooshahr we are also giving 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 as well as in Anupshahr and the villages around it. Around 30 women are engaged in producing the masks while almost 10 people are involved in the process of training and transporting the manufactured face masks. I Village is now aiming to produce 5 lakh three-layered cotton masks in near future.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has halted the overall economy of India 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 utilising the best in the given conditions to serve the people at this difficult juncture. The production of face masks by I Village in not only helping India in its fight against the pandemic, but also ensuring the economic wellness of the people living in villages around Anupshahr.

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Ankit Raghav

Inveterate traveller. Keeps an eye on what's happening in the politico-legal India. Love reading books on Indian history. Fascinated about World War-II stories. Have been following trends in the artificial intelligence technology associated startups.

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