project in progress Mask production
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than three million people in more than 150 countries. A scourge confronting all of humanity, impacting lifestyles, businesses, economies, and the assumption of common well- being that all of us have been mainly taken for granted. The outbreak of the COVID-19 posed fresh challenges on all aspect of life. The worst affected is the Poorest of the Poor and their families, Rural communities and their Children. Millions of workers who migrate seasonally to cities in search of daily wage labour have been severely affected by the Lockdown. Stranded far from their homes without income, thousands had to undertake journeys on foot across state borders for over hundreds of miles to their native places.
According to government figures, there are an estimated seven million artisans in India, however other sources peg the number to 200 million. The artisans constitute the backbone of India’s Handicraft sector, but at the time of duress are left to fend for themselves. Though some craftworkers do own land, millions do not. These landless artisans are forced to work as landless farmers or to migrate to cities as daily wage laborers. This puts the entire sector of traditional handicrafts at risk.
Amongst the worst affected are the rural artisans whose livelihood was totally dependent on the daily work given by the Indha ( www.indha.in). Due to Lockdown, there had been no sales activity.
We through Indha Project ( www.indha.in) have been trying to revive the receding Indian handicrafts sector by creating a market for the products across India and abroad. Global markets are slowly evolving and have begun to like the handmade, thereby giving hope to rural artisanal communities.
The old saying “Necessity is the father of invention" became real when all artisans and the design team started to think about converting this Pandemic into a livelihood opportunity. It was learnt that Mask is one such item which acts as Guard against person-to-person droplet transmission of a virus. The team of experts started to work on the sampling of Masks and sent out designs to the artisans through WhatsApp.
These artisans started working from home in the making of Masks. Close to Ten thousand Masks were distributed in the community with their help, and another ten thousand Masks are in production.
Masks were given in the community, especially to women, children and old people, in some places they were also distributed to the Police on Duty as well. Being made of Cotton, these Masks are organic and can be used multiple times after washing.
Outcome & Impact
Under the Project ‘Protection against Covid-19 - Masks for needy and livelihood for artisans’. The underserved section of society didn’t have money to buy the basic preventive kit to safeguard themselves against deadly coronavirus. In such a situation, our Indha artisans produced masks for community distribution. As a result, community had access to masks, a protective gear against covid-19 and artisans provided opportunity to earn their livelihood who have lost due to shut down of markets on account of nationwide lockdown.
Name : Pinki ( Name Changed) Age : 21 Location: West Bengal
Skills learnt provided her with the livelihood opportunity during Covid 19 pandemic
Seamless patchwork between the pieces of clothes has made Pinki’s life different and colourful. Her journey began with Literacy India as a student of Stitching and Tailoring program under Literacy India’s Karigari project for sustainable livelihood. She learnt stitching and tailoring for 6 months and got herself certified in the skill, at Literacy India centre located in Howrah, Kolkata.
Her yearning desire to learn, earn, grow and support family, propelled her to work hard. Post competing the course, she joined Indha to earn an income and support her family in meeting the daily needs.
Pinki was good at up taking new skills with which she underwent number of training programs/advance courses organised by the centre on online or offline mode to enhance her skill sets. Later, she became proficient in patch work with the sound understanding on seamless tie of cloth pieces with appropriate color combinations. Later, she began taking orders from community along with Indha that enabled her to earn an income to fulfil her family needs. Pinki was also provided support for buying new sewing machine to expand her work in the community.
Skills learnt under the LI’s program provided her with the livelihood opportunity, during nationwide Lockdown due to Covid 19 Pandemic when this underserved section of the society was worst affected. But Pinki didn’t lose hope but converted the situationinto an opportunity and stitched 750 masks for community under ‘Mask for all Campaign’ by Literacy India.
She mentioned during an interaction that ‘Her experience of making multiple products enabled her to produce these Masks in large numbers in much less time.’ At Present, Pinki looks forward for more such orders in the coming months.
Pinki feels happy that how skill training enabled and empowered her to earn sustainable livelihood.
project in progress Mask distribution
project in progress Mask production 2