This Santokhpura woman distributes free masks

This Santokhpura woman distributes free masks

Reema Soni after distributing masks among daily wage workers.

Ajay Joshi
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, March 26

Amid the Covid-19 scare, while some chemists and medical store owners are selling face marks at exorbitant rates, a city-based woman is setting an example by distributing face masks among locals free of cost.

So far, Reema Soni has distributed over 5,000 face masks among slum dwellers, destitute, commuters and cops. Rema, a resident of Santokhpura, near Lamma Pind chowk, said she along with women of self-help groups had targeted to prepare over 10,000 masks.

“The idea about preparing face masks struck me after I saw a video on social media wherein people were complaining about hefty amount being charged for face masks. I was surprised to know that surgical masks that are usually available at Rs 2-5 are being sold at Rs 25-30 and people were also spending money for these. Besides, understanding the significance of face masks at this critical situation motivated me to stitch masks. As a professional tailor, I tried stitching surgical masks and black masks and it turned out to be a successful attempt. Consequently, along with the self-help group women, I started making masks,” said Soni.

Soni also roped in women of her sewing centre in preparing the masks. From the past 15 days, she, along with her team, has made around 8,000 face masks. As many as 250 women worked for 4-5 hours daily to prepare around 3,500 face masks but after the curfew was imposed, the numbers have reduced to 500. She has been reaching out to destitute across the roads and railway station to provide masks and also spread awareness about basic sanitary practices and precautions among them.

She said when she heard that the poor people living in villages were being exploited by hoarders and profiteers charging exorbitant prices for masks, she prepared 5,000 marks and distributed these at the Civil Hospital and to commuters on city roads. While people took masks in bulk from her, NGOs were also approaching her for the same. However, after the imposition of curfew, she wasn’t getting raw materials as the markets were closed, she further added.

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