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Goa’s women self help group join the mission to fight back COVID-19

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Panaji: Several women self help groups in Goa’s rural areas are contributing to the efforts of the state government to fight back COVID-19 by stitching thousands of face masks, that are distributed at reasonable price in low-income group people.

A group of girls from Mattedadi near Dabhal village of Dharbandora taluka in South Goa took on YouTube to learn how to prepare the masks, and since then, have been stitching hundreds of masks every day.

“With one meter of cloth, you can stitch up to twelve masks. If you hone the skill, then you can stitch each mask within five to seven minutes,” said Poonam Samant, a social worker from Bethora area near Ponda town.

Samant has been instrumental in encouraging the local self help groups in the area to take a break from stitching of dresses and embroidery and take up the work of fighting back COVID-19 in their backyard.

“They need not move out of their homes. They can sit at home and help the nation to fight back,” Samant said.

“I have been providing them cloth of either, white or blue colour. They have to stitch it and then it is given to the people living in the villages for as low as Rs 15 per piece,” she said.

The masks are re-usable multiple times.

Similarly, the area of Sanvordem, a former Iron Ore mining belt, has seen several women joining hands in this mission.

Shreya Tari, Deputy Sarpanch of Sanvordem village, has been a driving force behind initiatives like Shrikrishna Self Help Group, Omkar Self Help Group and Saibaba Self Help Group, which has hundreds of women actively engaged as members.

Before the COVID-19 crisis hit the globe, these self help groups were busy learning how to make Coir based products.

“But when there was a call for nation, then we decided to join hands and provide affordable masks. All our members voluntarily agreed and within few hours we stitched around 2,000 masks which were supplied to the people through Sanvordem village panchayat,” she said.

The masks are sold at a price of Rs 25 per piece with the women keeping minimum profit for them. “This is our contribution to the nation,” she said.

These masks, once stitched, are sanitized before distributing them,” Tari said.

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