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This village in Andhra mass produces PPEs for India

At a time when Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers and others on the frontline of the coronavirus fight is in huge demand, a village is Andhra Pradesh is producing thousands a day.
 
200 women of Lakkavaram village are producing masks, shoe covers and lab coats in bulk and supplying them to the state government. Each day, they produce 15,000 masks, 6,000 shoe covers and 5,000 lab coats. They make Rs 500 a day, at a time thousands have been left without jobs because of the nationwide shutdown. 
 
The tailoring unit in East Godavari took an order from the state government to produce protective gear just a few weeks ago. As the country went into lockdown in late March, the men of the village lost their jobs. 
 
The crisis has only driven these women to join the fight against Covid-19. “My father has a fruits business, which was shut due to the lockdown. We were dependent on him to run the house,” says Jyothi, who has been working at the tailoring unit for the last 40 days. She runs the household now. 
 
Madhavi's father is a daily wage labourer. The family of have subsisted on his earnings, until he lost his job. The PPE unit was her lifeline, she says. Until a year ago, the tailoring unit was not functional until an NGO, ‘1M1B’ stepped in to revive its operations. “Many daily wage workers have lost their jobs, these women already had the skills of stitching and tailoring. 
 
Most of these women are extremely poor and even their husbands have lost their jobs. So the women are not only earning, they are also providing PPEs for frontline workers," said Manav Subodh, Founder, 1M1B.
 
For units like this, the Andhra Pradesh government procured cloth — the total length could cover the distance from India to the US — to get masks prepared by women attached to self-help groups across the state.

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