Homeless physically-challenged women at a Chennai Corporation shelter in Nungambakkam have pitched in to make reusable fabric masks so poor sanitary workers of Chennai Corporation could protect themselves from coronavirus.
The Chennai Corporation provides them the fabric in several colours. Seated complying with social distancing norms, the women work up to 10 hours making 300 single and double layered masks a day.
On the first floor of the shelter, Matilda Funceca, a wheelchair basketball player - who is an inmate of this facility for the last few years - spends all her time on this. She cuts the fabric and others take over from her.
She told NDTV, "We are happy we are helping the government to protect sanitary workers who are warriors at the ground level."
Her other mates add layers, stitch, fix the strings and pack them for dispatch.
Chennai has 214 positive cases, the highest in the state. The Chennai Corporation has made wearing of masks mandatory and has imposed a Rs 100 fine for pedestrian violators besides impounding vehicles and suspension of vehicles' registration for three months.
Shanthi, a differently-abled master tailor, who is popular in the neighborhood for her high-quality tailoring, loves her new work. She said, "We can bring down coronavirus infection by wearing masks. Sanitary workers can't buy expensive commercial masks. This helps many people. I am happy we are a part of this."
The Chennai Corporation would also pay them for their work which could help the women economically.
Dr Aiswarya Rao, Director, says, "We are not on the frontline. But the shelter women are doing everything they can to support everyone else who are not on the frontline, the non-medical people, really amazing for them to be a participant in the crisis".
There have been over 1,200 coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu since the outbreak; 12 people have died and 81 have recovered.