This mother-son duo provides free masks to the underprivileged through their mask vending machine in Delhi

Moved by the struggle of the underprivileged in obtaining safety equipment, Sourav Das and his mother Laxmi, have been stitching and providing free masks to the poor.

With coronavirus cases reaching 3.6 lakh in India, maintaining proper hygiene and social distancing has become imperative. But, this becomes a problem with poor people, who live in conditions which are not suitable for implementing such safety measures.

A mother-son duo, to that effect, has been stitching and distributing free masks to the poor in Delhi, one of the worst affected cities by the pandemic.

Twenty-four-year-old cinematographer Sourav Das, and his mother Laxmi, have distributed over 2,200 masks in a span of two months, through their ‘Pick One, Stay Safe’ initiative.

Image: NDTV

At the beginning of the lockdown, Sourav had purchased two N-95 masks — one for himself and his mother — each amounting to Rs 300. Although he did this to ensure the safety of his family, it did not sit well with his mother.

“The mask was neither washable nor reusable, and yet it cost Rs 300 per piece,” said 56-year-old Laxmi Das, mother of Sourav, while speaking to NDTV.

“One of my uncles is a farmer, and while working he is exposed to dust particles. My mother was anyway stitching face covers for my uncle, his workers, and the neighbours. But, because of the coronavirus crisis, we don’t know when we will be able to travel and provide these face covers to them. Hence, she decided to stitch face masks and distribute it among underprivileged people who don’t have the luxury to buy masks at such high rates,” Sourav added.

Through this initiative, Sourav wants to ensure that the underprivileged have access to the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). The packaging of the masks, designed by Sourav, ensures contactless access.

His mother Laxmi stitches about 25-40 masks daily, using the necessary materials provided by his uncle. These homemade masks are reusable, and are put in five vending boxes at different locations at the Chittaranjan Park area in Delhi.

Four out of these five vending boxes are placed in the market areas, while one of the boxes are sent to those whose homes were destroyed by the recent fire in Tughlakabad, South Delhi.

Sourav even installed a mask dispenser at the Chittaranjan Park Market No. 1, near Kendriya Bhandar. People can ‘withdraw’ a mask just by pulling one string hanging outside the box.

Neighbours, too, welcomed the initiative. Naveen Chandrasheel, who runs a salon at the Chittaranjan Park and has a mask vending box near his shop, told The Logical Indian, "Since masks are a must these days, I ask customers who forget their masks to take one from the box."

The National Capital has witnessed more than 47,102 positive cases, recording over 1,900 deaths.

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Edited by Suman Singh


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