IIT Mandi, EWOK Society Launch Initiative For Manufacture Of Maitri Masks
Maitri Masks (Friendship Masks) are good quality reusable and washable cotton masks made by women in Kamand valley during COVID-19 pandemic.
IIT Mandi along with Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK) Society has launched Maitri Mask Abhiyaan. Maitri Masks (Friendship Masks) are good quality reusable and washable cotton masks made by women in Kamand valley during COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking about the initiative, Dr. Priscilla Gonsalves, Chief Advisor, EWOK Society, IIT Mandi, said, "It's great to see the way the local community has pulled together to protect our health. When EWOK was having difficulty finding material, Mr. Chirag Vaidya of Mandi immediately offered to supply cloth for the first 150 masks free of charge. In the Kamand valley, Ms. Urmila from Katindhi has been organising the women and the procurement of materials, and the local women enthusiastically agreed to donate their first day's labour to the cause."
Under this initiative, IIT Mandi and EWOK Society are sourcing and providing close knit cotton to the Mahila mandals (women groups) and guiding them in making effective cloth masks in compliance with the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, and the Government of India. Precautions like social-distancing and sanitizing is being followed while making masks.
Women groups observe health protocols while making face masks
IIT Mandi's Multiscale Fabrication and Nonotechnology lab has provided extensive support to the EWOK Society in testing these masks. The masks have more than 50% efficiency for catching droplets and dust.
Apart from this, EWOK Society is working extensively in spreading awareness in the community, including panchayats of Kamand, Katindhi, Kataula and Navlaya about correct usage and sanitization of cotton masks.
The Maitri Mask Abhiyaan is also making women aware of how to protect their families and localities from Coronavirus.
The production of the masks has started with women groups from 4 villages and EWOK Society is working on expanding it to 15 villages in the coming weeks while catering to orders from construction companies, IIT Mandi departments and surrounding panchayats
The current production rate of the masks is 150 per day and will scale up to 300-400 per day with an increase in orders. The expected number of beneficiaries under the Maitri Mask Abhiyaan is 2500 to 3500.
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