Here’s a mask-making project that seems to have covered the length and breadth of the country.
Haath Ka Bana, a social enterprise based in Delhi, launched #RestartIndia campaign immediately after the lockdown, which is when they realised that many of the export orders of small-scale units they were working with had been cancelled.
The seven-year-old company works with artisans from the handicraft industry to help them bring standardised products. So they got down to reskilling these daily wagers working in the handloom and handicraft industry so that they could sustain their livelihood.
“Our first target was weavers whose orders got cancelled. We identified people who had machines or those who had sewing skills,” says Smita Mathur who takes care of the marketing and communication at Haath Ka Bana. Later, they started training artisans as per the WHO and ICMR guidelines through videos.
The company managed to contact weavers of Pochampally (Telangana), Surat and Kutch (Gujarat), Banaras (Uttar Pradesh) and from the north-east region (Nagaland and Assam) and procured almost 15000 metres of fabric initially.
Today, over 200 women and men in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand and West Bengal are stitching masks under the project. And this is a growing number.
According to the company data, over one lakh handmade masks have been shipped to various parts of the country so far. They also got the support of over 800 retail customers and 12 government and corporate clients.
Smita cites how they could meet the demand because of their network. “In Bihar, there was a requirement for 5000 masks. Instead of sourcing the material from Delhi, we connected them with a handloom cluster in the state and got the artisans involved,” says Smita, adding that a large portion of the revenue made by selling masks goes to the artisans themselves.
The Haath Ka Bana masks are available in Ikkat, checkered and stripes and in plain designs and are eco-friendly, with a set of three priced at ₹150.
For further details, check their page on Facebook @haathkabana and Instagram @haath_ka_bana. Or call Smita at 8826560088