GADAG: With anganwadis shut amid the lockdown, workers, who are normally responsible for taking care of children, are doing their bit in the fight against coronavirus. Hundreds of anganwadi workers in Ron taluk — 300 to be precise — have been stitching and distributing free masks to the poor. They have already handed out thousands of masks to villagers, and are still going strong. The initiative has earned them a lot of praise too.
The tahsildar, gram panchayat members, PDOs and other villagers have appreciated these women’s dedication to helping those in need. G B Jakkanagoudar, tahsildar, Ron, says, “This is a really a great initiative. They are each stitching 25 masks, and after taking a count, we figured that more than 50,000 masks have been distributed till date. It’s not an easy task — we are proud of all of them.”
The women decided to take on this task after they realised that masks were being sold at very high prices, and were not being bought by the villagers. Talking about the project, YS Hadagali, an anganwadi worker, says, “Many villagers are still in need of masks, so this is our way of contributing to protecting people from coronavirus. We are still stitching masks every day, and distributing them when we go for duty.”
Another reason they took on this task was due to the difficulty in accessing chemists and medical stores in the area. Due to the lockdown, villagers were not able to reach the nearest town to purchase masks. Earlier, the villagers did not know where these masks were coming from. Many thought the masks were being provided to them by the government. So when the truth came out about these ‘silent’ mask makers, the villagers felicitated the anganwadi workers, appreciating them for their efforts.
Some people have come forward to help them, including police officers from Ron, who are travelling to neighbouring villages to get what is needed. Anganwadi workers Parvati Kontikal, Nirmala Barker and Shashikala Ganiger say, “As anganwadi workers, it is our duty to do something during a crisis situation. So we decided to stitch masks as most of us know how to sew. Now, donors are giving us cloth and elastic, but earlier, we were putting in our own money to purchase things. Each of us has put in between Rs. 6,000 and Rs 10,000 from our own pockets till now.”Hadagali adds, “We will keep stitching till the whole taluk has masks -- this is out small contribution to the cause.”