Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Self-help Groups: Stitching the thread of unity in fight against Covid-19

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” ~ Sun-Tzu

The second wave of the pandemic is looming large over India and everyone is fervently hoping for the ray of positivity amidst the chaos. In the middle of this, hundreds of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) across the country have risen to the occasion to provide masks, sanitisers, cooked meals, and more assistance to contribute towards combating the pandemic and helping the distressed in the hour of need.

One such Self-Help Group of women in the Guna district of Madhya Pradesh has risen to the occasion by stitching one lakh masks to provide to field staff working in the district government’s office. Homemade masks stitched by them were provided to employees working in district offices, banks, electricity companies etc. Employees working in 425-gram panchayats were also provided with these masks under Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).

District Officer Nilesh Parikh, under Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) has given the consignment for masks to the women of Self-Help Groups. This way, he extended financial assistance to the women belonging to Self-Help Groups as well as realised the opportunity to facilitate medical assistance to provide a layer of shield from the infection. Sona Khan of Laharkota village, Anita Ojha of Bamoria and Sunita Prajapati along with other women of Self-Help Groups relentlessly worked round the clock for seven days to prepare and stitch one lakh masks.

Emerging as Inspiration: Women of Self-Help Groups

Across the country close to 6.8 crore women have joined the fight against covid-19. This is a true example of women empowerment. Their contributions have come as a relief to many people in the hour of need. They are engaged in making face masks, running community kitchens, delivering essential supplies, sensitizing people about health and hygiene, and countering misinformation in the rural and remotest areas of the country.

A community of six million SHGs are functional across the country that falls under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM). This is a self-employment programme, a project implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.

As per the data provided by the Ministry of Rural Development, in the fight against Covid-19, Self-Help Group members have sewn 54 million masks and produced 2.8 trillion litres of sanitiser in 13 states. More than 10,000 community kitchens have been set up by these groups across the country.

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