The battle against COVID-19 gets women ‘warriors’ in Kashmir. Fashion designers, small-time tailors and students volunteer to tide over the shortage of masks, body-bags and personal protective equipment vital for the front-line health workers.

Sadia Mufti, 28, is a popular fashion designer and owner of Hangers, a boutique in Srinagar. This time, it’s not kurtis or khaftan she has innovated upon, but personal protective equipment. “We presented samples of personal protective equipment to experts in Kashmir Valley hospitals, and they have been approved for mass production. Our triple-layered masks have already been approved,” Ms. Mufti told.

Her personal protective equipment is different from the routine supply. “It has a boot and a hood, which covers the face except the eyes, in one piece. The stitch is in such a way that it is easy for medicos to put it on.”

She said she wanted to be productive in this time of crisis. “I am fortunate enough to have the resources,” she said, getting ready to stitch over 2,000 pieces in the coming days.

Scores of women tailors have volunteered across the Valley to help in the mass production of triple-layered masks.

Around 60% of the 270 skilled and semi-skilled professionals engaged by Ehsaas International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), are women. “Besides 500 pieces of personal protective equipment, 3,000 triple-layered masks are supplied on a daily basis to the District Disaster Management Authority, Srinagar,” said a volunteer of the NGO.

Ehsaas International and J&K Skill Development Mission Society have pooled manpower and trained certified professionals to develop health safety gears from a locally procured non-woven polypropylene material. “With their help, we have started making face shields, a substitute for goggles used as a part of personal protective equipment kit,” said Hakim Mohammad Ilyas, general secretary of Ehsaas International.

In the HMT area, on the outskirts of Srinagar, Tawheeda Akhter, an entrepreneur, works late at night. “I have assembled a few of my trainees and started making masks, gowns and shoe-covers. We keep sewing them till late at night as many people may need them in coming days,” said Ms. Akhter.

News Source: The Hindu


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