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Waste Pickers Turned Artisans From Delhi Based NGO Gulmeher Are Fighting Coronavirus By Stitching Face Masks

On a regular day, women of Delhi based NGO Gulmeher would make eco-friendly products from the waste collected from the Ghazipur landfill. But with the Coronavirus outbreak, they have switched to stitching cloth masks

Waste Pickers Turned Artisans From Delhi Based NGO Gulmeher Are Fighting Coronavirus By Stitching Face Masks
Highlights
  • At Gulmeher, 20 women stitch variety of cloth based face masks
  • Face masks by women of Gulmeher are made of cotton cloth and reusable
  • In almost 2 months, around 60,000 masks have been produced

New Delhi: It’s 2 PM, 27-year-old Shabana has just finished her lunch and is getting back to stitching a variety of face masks. On a regular day, Shabana would play with flower waste and upcycle it into beautiful paintings, portraits, posters and other items. But with the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus, neither is Shabana able to go out to collect flower waste nor is she finding many buyers for her creativity. Similar is the story of 19 other women employed at Delhi based NGO Gulmeher who usually make eco-friendly products using the waste collected from the Ghazipur landfill and the nearby flower market. To continue working during Coronavirus and earn a livelihood, these women have started stitching reusable cloth masks.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘Mask Up Now’, Says Delhi Based Firm With Their Innovative Contactless Delivery Of Face Masks

The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus invited a nationwide lockdown which in turn had a substantial impact on the lives of thousands of citizens and a larger effect on the nation’s economy. There was no way Gulmeher would lay off women waste-pickers’ turned into artisans and leave them stranded in these tough times. Hence, the NGO decided to switch to stitching cloth masks, one of the tools to protect oneself from contracting the COVID-19 and provide a source of livelihood to these women. Talking about the switch, Anurag, a mentor at Delhi based NGO Gulmeher and Director at Shakti Foundation said,

Women at Gulmeher work with waste and upcycle both dry waste including cardboard, paper and wet waste such as discarded flowers, vegetable waste, among others into fancy items like calendars, gift boxes, diaries, file covers, rakhis, posters to name a few. On the other hand, we had started a stitching unit a couple of years ago, but about six to eight months ago we had given it a break because we were unable to grab the market. The products these women have been making using waste for years are not something people will buy during a pandemic or at least for the next few months. They are more want and desire oriented products. So, we decided to switch to stitching cloth masks which are also essential. Eventually, the intention is to provide employment opportunities to waste pickers be it by the means of upcycling, stitching or anything.

Waste Pickers Turned Artisans From Delhi Based NGO Gulmeher Are Fighting Coronavirus By Stitching Face Masks

These face masks stitched to help people fight COVID-19 are washable and reusable

Also Read: COVID-19: Central Government’s DIY Guide On Making Masks At Home For Curbing The Spread Of Coronavirus

With the idea to continue providing employment to waste pickers, in mid-April Gulmeher decided to dedicate itself to stitching cloth masks. Women were trained to stitch a variety of masks – pleated, contour – both with and without the option of adding filter. All masks are priced between Rs. 25 to Rs. 60 per piece and are available on the official website of Gulmeher. In order to tap the B2B (business to business) market, the team is now planning to put up their products on e-commerce websites.

Further talking about whether the team is resorting to the idea of upcycling and waste management while stitching these masks and making use of old cloth, Mr Kashyap said,

Masks are supposed to be hygienic and therefore, they can’t be made from scrap cloth. We have purchased fresh length of cloth for these masks.

Waste Pickers Turned Artisans From Delhi Based NGO Gulmeher Are Fighting Coronavirus By Stitching Face Masks

Reusable mask adjusts to face shape and give full coverage, essential to fight COVID-19

Together, on average, the group produces around 2,000 masks, daily and as of now, 60,000 masks have been produced. Of this, 20,000 masks were given to East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to distribute it among their frontline warriors – sanitation workers, public health officials and others. Also, a little over 30,000 masks have been sold.

Also Read: Srinagar Based NGO Serves Daily Essentials To People During Coronavirus Pandemic

Talking about the change in her work, Shabana said,

Earlier I used to work in a different unit where I would treat flower waste. Now our supervisor taught us to stitch masks and on average I stitch 150 masks daily. The work has indeed changed but there has not been any alteration in my monthly income.

Are Cloth Masks Safe To Fight Against COVID-19?

According to the advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with regard to the homemade protective cover for face and mouth, to protect the community at large, people who are not suffering from medical conditions or having breathing difficulties may use the handmade reusable face cover, especially while venturing out.

US top medical body CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC says that cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies and must be reserved for healthcare workers.

Waste Pickers Turned Artisans From Delhi Based NGO Gulmeher Are Fighting Coronavirus By Stitching Face Masks

Fight COVID-19: Since these face masks are reusable, they are environmentally better than disposable plastic masks

According to Gulmeher, their cloth masks are non-surgical, washable and reusable and completely safe to use. Elaborating on the same, Mr Kashyap said,

Washable cloth masks are environmentally better, as they can be washed and reused, rather than disposable plastic masks, whose disposal is likely to cause huge environmental issues. The production of these masks is providing wages to green workers.

Also Read: Fight Coronavirus: Union Minister Smriti Irani’s DIY Guide On How To Make A Homemade Mask

World

26,21,50,955Cases
22,29,25,306Active
3,40,18,299Recovered
52,07,350Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,21,50,955 and 52,07,350 have died; 22,29,25,306 are active cases and 3,40,18,299 have recovered as on November 30, 2021 at 3:50 am.

India

3,45,87,822 6,990Cases
1,00,5433,316Active
3,40,18,299 10,116Recovered
4,68,980 190Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,87,822 confirmed cases including 4,68,980 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,00,543 and 3,40,18,299 have recovered as on November 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,34,980 536

11,525 338

64,82,493 853

1,40,962 21

Kerala

51,37,091 3,382

45,138 2,514

50,51,998 5,779

39,955 117

Karnataka

29,95,857 257

6,907 47

29,50,747 205

38,203 5

Tamil Nadu

27,26,197 730

8,291 46

26,81,434 767

36,472 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,725 101

2,102 38

20,56,184 138

14,439 1

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,387 5

86 3

16,87,391 2

22,910

West Bengal

16,15,378 511

7,733 71

15,88,172 571

19,473 11

Delhi

14,40,900 34

285 3

14,15,517 36

25,098 1

Odisha

10,48,880 197

2,165 26

10,38,306 221

8,409 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,779 16

318 12

9,92,868 28

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,770 12

187 12

9,45,628 24

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,435 27

262 22

8,17,081 49

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,150 12

126 4

7,82,496 8

10,528

Haryana

7,71,692 16

165 3

7,61,473 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,219 2

39 2

7,16,517 4

9,663

Telangana

6,75,798 184

3,581 46

6,68,227 137

3,990 1

Assam

6,16,708 140

2,595 96

6,08,015 230

6,098 6

Punjab

6,03,258 18

329 11

5,86,330 26

16,599 3

Jharkhand

3,49,232 11

95 2

3,43,997 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,227 8

132 44

3,36,687 51

7,408 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,681 150

1,626 32

3,30,579 181

4,476 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,093 90

824 29

2,22,422 61

3,847

Goa

1,78,890 24

276 3

1,75,230 19

3,384 2

Mizoram

1,34,810 437

3,805 95

1,30,512 531

493 1

Puducherry

1,28,893 12

296 16

1,26,725 28

1,872

Manipur

1,25,169 17

655 30

1,22,539 43

1,975 4

Tripura

84,791 4

78 8

83,890 10

823 2

Meghalaya

84,461 17

285 16

82,704 32

1,472 1

Chandigarh

65,456 8

58 4

64,578 4

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,273 4

35 2

54,958 2

280

Sikkim

32,233 5

121 6

31,709 11

403

Nagaland

32,109 9

140 5

31,273 4

696

Ladakh

21,540 12

250 18

21,076 29

214 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 4

10,319 4

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683 2

8 2

7,546

129

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Prabhjot

    June 3, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Lets get over it; we will fight back.

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