Amid measures in the city to combat the coronavirus pandemic, protesters at the all-women indefinite dharna in Kondhwa, which entered its 63rd day, have taken measures to protect themselves, including by making their own masks.
Gazala Shaikh (43), a fashion designer who has been part of the protest since its inception, made over 50 masks at her boutique for those who were at the venue on Thursday.
“When coronavirus cases emerged in the city, it became a concern for all of us to not only keep protesting against CAA, NRC and NPR, but also to look after each and every person’s health and welfare. Many of us were among those who were at the pharmacies to buy masks and sanitiser, but they soon ran out of stock. Secondly, the prices of supplies have also increased. Many protesters cannot afford masks and sanitiser. So I decided to make masks out of the cloth I have at my boutique,” said Gazala.
Gazala said she made the masks with six folds and two layers of breathable material along with an elastic strap. The masks resemble the medical masks available in the market and are made using cotton cloth. “The mask has two cotton layers for now. The difference is the weaving of the cloth. The outer is more closely weaved while the inner layer is more breathable. It will restrict the dust and water droplets in the air. For the masks I will make henceforth, I will add a third middle layer of filter,” she said.
With the help of her family, Gazala made the 50 masks, some with a floral print and others in grey. “It is nowhere written to be upset over a disease. After today, I have received requests for over 400 masks. I will be demonstrating how to make the masks to women here so that they can contribute in making them. We want the masks to be available for everyone,” she said.
Dr Alsaba Shaikh (42), a practising naturopath and protester, said that to sanitise hands, some protesters will make a concoction using aftershave and aloe vera.
“Since the outbreak in Wuhan, we explain the coronavirus to protesters who come here. We not only made them aware about the virus but also what precautionary methods can be taken. This virus is not as dangerous as swine flu or H1N1 but the fear is threefold among people… we will make this mix wherein the alcohol will disinfect while the aloe gel will protect the sensitive skin of the palms,” she said.
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