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COVID-19 | Rajasthan woman entrepreneur’s noble gesture to poor villagers

Suman Singh, who runs a tailoring centre, stitches face masks for protection against COVID-19 and distributes them free of cost

Taking an initiative to help out poor villagers during the COVID-19 pandemic, a woman entrepreneur running a craft centre in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district has started stitching face masks for protection against novel coronavirus and is distributing them free of cost in the rural areas. Her selfless act has won people’s heart in the region.

The unusual craft centre, Kirti Craft, in the small and dusty Konrer village, has been offering livelihood opportunities to the poor and needy women by honing their skills for tailoring and employing them for garment production. Before the nationwide lockdown started, about 55 women were working at the centre.

 

Suman Singh, 43, who runs the tailoring centre, has decided to utilise the period of its closure during the lockdown to stitch the face masks and distribute them among villagers. “I stitch 80 to 100 masks every day, spending six hours on my sewing machine. We distribute the masks every evening to villagers who gather at our centre while adhering to social distancing norms,” Ms. Singh told The Hindu on Thursday.

Kirti Craft is the biggest tailoring centre in the Deeg block of Bharatpur district, making the annual turnover of ₹20 lakh. The garments manufactured at the centre are sold locally and exported to the countries such as Argentina, Germany and Japan through a Jaipur-based export house.

Bharatpur-based Lupin Foundation helped the rural entrepreneur in starting the tailoring centre at her home in 2013 and assisted her in obtaining loan for purchasing the single needle lockstitch sewing machines. Ms. Singh later acquired a five-thread interlocking machine as well, which helps workers in speedy sewing of garments.

 

Ms. Singh said she had decided to distribute free masks because it would be wrong to earn profit during the current pandemic. “This is our small contribution to the efforts to contain the spread of virus,” she said, adding that she was also supplying double layer face masks for the use of doctors and paramedical staff at the Primary Health Centre in Konrer.

The cotton fabric for masks is available in sufficient quantity at the centre, while the string or elastic is attached as per the need. Ms. Singh and her two children wash the cloth with sanitiser before stiching masks and take care of hygiene until they are given to the villagers.

Besides Konrer, which has a population of 4,500, the nearby villages such as Kasot, Jatoli and Deeg have also benefited from Ms. Singh’s initiative. Her unit is known in the region for its regular experiments with new designs, fabric and colours for garments.

Grit, determination

Ms. Singh was felicitated by the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises at a workshop of the Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of India (CWEI) in Jaipur in February this year. The CWEI praised her fight against odds when she walked out of an unhappy marriage and built her unit by grit and determination with the desire to provide for her children.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 4:13:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajasthan-woman-entrepreneurs-noble-gesture-to-poor-villagers/article31303934.ece

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