STORY PREVIEW

2020

Mask and Sanitary napkin – Making it for Social Work and Entrepreneurship

Samgra Seva Kendra

Bihar

MENTOR

Pragya Khalkho

Step 1 FEEL

1. COVID-19 has made it mandatory to wear a mask if anyone want to be safe from this infection. But to lock downs and being a remote village, the availability of mask is limited. 2. Limited mask supply coupled with negligent behavior of village people in wearing mask becomes very serious. 3. Lack of awareness on health safety also creates barrier in adopting positive health behaviors. 4. Lack of supply of sanitary napkins and its low availability.

The problem of unavailability of mask and sanitary napkins has been chosen by us to work upon. The reason behind this is the limited supply of mask and sanitary napkins in our panchayat being a remote area and it creates an opportunity for us to take on this initiative at entrepreneurship level.

The COIVD has affected people from all age groups. So, each age group was equally concerned. But focus was on adolescent age and old age people. Their primary concerns were getting mask sufficient for their families. Government distributed some masks in some pockets but that was not sufficient for the families. Also many families do not get masks. The availability of mask in the locality was also limited and hence costly. Adolescent girls were not getting sanitary napkins due to lock down. It created problems to them in maintaining menstruation hygiene. Also being lost their livelihoods, they were also a problem of food security in families. Some were already facing it and some were to face it in coming weeks. So, buying masks and sanitary napkin was secondary problem as perceived by them but actually it was also most important to check the spread of virus and protect the dignity of girls.

Step 2 Imagine

We came up with following solutions: 1. Awareness in community on the importance of wearing mask. 2. Learning how to make masks as per government guidelines and also sanitary napkins to provide alternative to adolescent girls. 3. Taking mask making as start of entrepreneurship. 4. Talking to the government and panchayat heads to provide food, mask and sanitary napkins to the effected families. 5. Linking families to food security schemes of the government through nominating them for making ration card.

The solutions that we implemented were as following – - We Learnt from our mentor to make mask according to government guidelines and also how to make sanitary napkins. - We shared with other girls and community members that why wearing a mask is important for protect oneself from COVID infection. - We started mask and sanitary napkin making at home. - Trained other girls in the village to make mask and sanitary pads. - We distributed it free in our community. - We also sold masks @ 10 INR per mask. - We linked needy families with ration shops and nominated them for ration cards.

Step 3DO

First we shared the problems to our mentor who encouraged us to make a group and work for a solution on mask making along with sanitary napkins and aware the community to wear mask. He provided good videos on mask making and sanitary napkins Then she instructed us to use used cotton cloths for mask making and sanitary napkins. We made a group of girls and learnt mask and sanitary pad making. Then we started making it in good numbers for our group. We distributed it free among girls and community members. We conducted meetings in our peer groups and met families to aware them on wearing mask and the mask is available in the village. Girls also started using home-made sanitary napkins which helped them in maintaining their menstrual hygiene. We also did free distribution of some sanitary pads. Later, out mentor advised us to pursue this for income generation. Then we started selling it at a cost of 10 INR per mask.

The impact of our work was that the people listened our voice and imbibed wearing mask in their behavior. We were also able to produce mask at village level for the community. Many girls learnt mask and they also started making at their household level. One other impact was that it gave us an opportunity to earn and take mask making at entrepreneurship level. Also the problem of sanitary napkins for adolescent girls were solved. Girls made it in their home and also helped elder women in using this sanitary pads.

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- “You are making aware people on wearing mask and also making mask at village level. This is important to keep us safe from COVID infection. ” - Devendra Yadav - Jamuar - ‘Girls have learnt making sanitary napkins and can now use it for their well-being at no cost.” - Vaijanti Devei - Jamuar

1. Working in group was not easy when we started. All had different thinking and concerns about why we are doing so. Our mentor helped in this a lot. He encouraged each of us to work for society and motivated us to work on a solution of mask and sanitary pad making. 2. Other problem was how we take it forward. But when we discussed it in our group, we visualized the solutions. We collected used cotton clothes from our houses and arranged a sewing machine from an aunty and at one of group member’s house we started making masks and sanitary pads. 3. Next point was to meet people to ask them to wear mask and tell them that mask is available within the village. We met people and other girls in the community and talked about this. Initially, we provided them masks at no cost. 4. Later, they at their-self started buying mask from us. On pricing, our mentor told us that keep it very low so that people can afford it seeing their degraded economic status due to loss of jobs. 5. Girls also learnt how to make sanitary napkins and started using it. They also helped women in their houses to use it.

15-30 Days

Good health and well being

Mask is very helpful in protecting health of an individual. Mask is inevitable to prevent respiratory health problems due to emerging global health threats like COVID-19. It is very critical factor in checking the spread of COIVD-19. Menstrual hygiene is also important for being an healthy adolescent and hence a healthy adult. It protects them from other reproductive and sexually transmitted infection. This helps girls to continuing school education by not dropping out by this reason and also schooling can avoid child marriages.

Step 4 SHARE

In following ways, we shared our project with community: - 1. We met people in our community and told about our work. 2. We sent letter to government officials and panchayat heads and described our work. We also urged them to place order with us if they need it. 3. We shared it in different whatsapp groups and social media with many people. 4. The district print and electronic media covered our story of making mask and sanitary napkin. 5. Our mentor also shared our story in their own organization and different branches of it in other states. All people appreciated this initiative and said other children should also do this.

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To sustain our plan, we are working in a group and linking with income generation. We are also heading towards taking it at entrepreneurship level. Our organization will arrange an advance training on commercial mask making and provide support for commercial packaging and help us in marketing it. up to now, our advance training on mask making is completed and we are excited to go further. Girls have also learnt to make sanitary napkins and are using it. This skill will help them forever in their life. They are also become good trainers on this. So they can train others on this too.