BHADARWAH: Fasting and charity are essential to Ramzan, and in this holiest month of Islam when the country is fighting coronavirus pandemic, 12 girls have come together in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir to stitch masks for free distribution.
"All of us are on Ramzan fast. We have resolved to contribute in our own little way in the fight against the disease. Hope our sadqa (or sadaqah/charity) will be of some help," Aarzo Akhter (17), a resident of Pasri Mohalla, told PTI.
The initiative by the girls, who are voluntarily stitching the masks to handover to the district administration for free distribution, has been acknowledged by the local Army unit which came forward to help the group by providing them material.
Ramzan started on Saturday on a subdued note due to the ongoing lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus.
Both fasting (roza) and acts of charity (sadqa) are obligatory upon Muslims who are able to do so in this period.
To provide face masks to every individual, the Doda district administration has not only involved self-help groups and invited tenders to stitch the face covers, but has also appealed to locals to help meet the growing demand amid the COVID-19 crisis.
"Initially we decided to contribute 20,000 masks, but now all of us have decided to render our services till the requirement of all the people is met, the leader of the group, Asma Bano (21) of Mohalla Haveli, said.
The members, who are all fasting, said they feel motivated enough to stitch even more masks than their daily target.
We are stitching 200 extra masks than our target for the day. By this speed, Insha Allah (God willing) we will be able to handover the first installment of 5,000 masks to the administration by Wednesday," Asma said.
Another volunteer Nazra Shahid (19) of Atalgarh village said she decided to pitch in after Prime Minister Narendra's Modi's appeal to the people to use face masks.
She said the face masks were not easily available in the local markets.
"I saw our Prime Minister on television making the appeal to the citizens of the country. We all know tailoring work and decided to contribute. What better occasion than this holy month," Shahid said, adding they have managed to stitch over 1,100 face covers since Saturday.
Seeing the resolve and dedication of the girls, the local Rashtriya Rifles unit decided to join hands with the group to help them meet the target.
"It is heartwarming to see the involvement of young girls who are fasting from dawn to dusk. We decided to help them in their noble gesture and provided them with space at the Women Empowerment Centre, an army officer said.
He said the Army also provided them the material needed for masks.