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As India struggles to maintain the supply of masks, sanitizers, and other safety gears amid a 21-day nationwide lockdown, called by the Indian government to tackle the novel Corona virus outbreak, women-led self-help groups(SGH) in rural Chhattisgarh have come to the frontline, contributing in a meaningful way to the battle against the pandemic. These women, who are part of 853 SHGs associated with the Chhattisgarh State Rural Livelihood Mission (CSRLM), have not only manufacture low-cost face masks & sanitizers for use of the health professionals and the general public in the state but also spread awareness around the COVID-19 outbreak in the rural parts of Chhattisgarh by means of wall writings.
“The enthusiasm and hard work of these women can be known from the fact that 87,544 masks were prepared just in a day on April 1,” Alice Lakra, the Chief Operating Officer of CSRLM told PTI. This is itself an achievement – race against the time. Till date they have produced nearly 5 lakh mask in compliance with the WHO standards. Apart from this, close to 23 SHGs functioning in 9 districts of the state have dedicated their members to making 602.4 litres of hand sanitizer till date. In certain districts, these women have also branched out into producing fabric hand gloves, which they are supplying to the traffic police. On a rural level, where social media and other means of communications have limited reach, SHGs are playing a big role in combating the Corona virus battle. “They are also running awareness drives about Corona virus in their vicinity and informing people about the importance of staying sanitised and maintaining social distancing,” added Alice.