Rupali is an example of an entrepreneur who has displayed outstanding leadership during this pandemic time. After her tailoring business came to a standstill, and Mann Deshi proposed that she make masks there was no stopping her. She hired 30 women, many of whom knew only basic stitching. To train them Rupali made a video and circulated it on Whatsapp. Anyone who had a smartphone could contact her if they had any queries. She also set aside a room in her house where between 11 am to 1 pm, women working under her could enter, either to drop off finished masks or collect material. Since she had the machinery, she cut cloth for women who had bulk orders for masks, thereby earning more money. During the two months of lockdown, Rupali earned nearly Rs 70,000 from cutting cloth and Rs 60,000 from bulk orders.
Seeing Rupali’s success, Mann Deshi provided cloth cutting machinery to women so that they too could take bulk orders. One of them is Anita. Before the lockdown, between her tailoring business and her husband’s work in a brick kiln, the Bhosale made Rs 6,000 a month. This dried up when lockdown was imposed. Anita then started making face masks on her own with the cloth she already had. She supplied these masks to medical stores, a hospital and neighbouring gram panchayats. It was then that Mann Deshi got in touch with her and gave her a cloth-cutting machine. Anita hired 20 women who now make 700-800 masks a day. During the two months of lockdown, Anita herself earned nearly Rs 50,000. “Although the mask-making work has come down now,” Anita says, “the experience has honed my stitching skills and I’ve realized the importance of quality. I’ve also learnt how to lead a team. I will be using these new skills to expand my business.”
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