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While there is a viral ‘Saree Challenge’ on Facebook, Babita Jaishankar has a new, unique challenge for you. Read on to know what it is and what you can do!
They say when there’s no solution, a woman might just come up with one and in these dark times, Babita Jaishankar has done just that! In times when masks are a necessity, especially while stepping out, she has managed to make eco-friendly masks at home. Babita and her daughter began making masks together while they are stuck at home during the lockdown.
While the world fights a global pandemic that has hit us in the form of the coronavirus, there are some people doing their bit to help the society. Babita is one such person. I recently had the opportunity to speak to the fashion designer and image coach regarding this new campaign of hers. She is also associated with cancer survivors and says that, at the end of the day, happiness and self confidence are what people need.
Babita told me that the idea for the masks came after she saw some foreign designers doing their bit and making masks at home. “They were telling people how to make their own masks and I realised that no one was even talking about it in India. And since I am a fashion designer, I decided to take up the initiative on my own,” she said.
“The initial idea was that at least everyone at home should have a mask and that it should be comfortable for everyone. So I started looking for things on the Internet. The first thing I saw was the kind of fabrics that could be used. Luckily that kind of cloth WAS at home and it all just started from there,” Babita told me while explaining how the idea came about.
She also told me how to make the mask at home. “First of all, you need to know that a tightly woven cloth is used to make the mask an it is easily available at home. Old cotton bed sheets too can be used for it. Next, I cut it into four pieces and sewed it together. You can tie it all up with the help of a string or even a narra. I left it open on the side so more filters could be added according to your convenience. For this design, I gave it a curve from near the nose and mouth so it may be comfortable. Those with a little knowledge of stitching can easily make these.”
What started as an initiative only for her family members soon turned into one that would help others too! Babita noticed that there were some poor people around her struggling to find masks. So she made some and distributed them to those in need. And once she found out that there was a shortage of masks at a nearby hospital too. So she made some more and distributed them there as well.
About how these masks are innovative, she says that since they are a cloth mask, they can be reused after washing them in warm water. Other than this, they are extremely environmentally friendly as they are made of cloth and cause no waste. And a third reason why they are a little different than all the other masks is that other than being extremely comfortable and you can also add your own filters for extra protection, as you need them.
Babita did not charge anyone for the masks that she gave. She says, “At the end, what matters to me is the inner happiness. When I distributed the masks in the hospital, people kept asking me for their price. But I told them that I was doing it for my own happiness and the satisfied smile on their faces was enough for me as a price. When the end result is good, we get priceless satisfaction,” she said.
In a world where a number of ‘Saree Challenge’ and other similar challenges are going up, Babita says that she too was tagged by a number of people. And when she did not revert, a bunch of them asked her why she did not do the same. To which she said, “I wanted to tell them that everything has a write time. Right now, I feel it is more important to make these masks but I am not criticising the challenges.
“The internet is a great place and we can reach a number of people at the same time. That was the reason I put up posts on Instagram and Facebook. I appealed to people to start making these masks even if they had a little knowledge of stitching,” she says.
Babita has also appealed to the people to act according to the situation. She says that we don’t have to do anything but stay at home and cooperate with the government’s orders.
Additionally since everyone IS at home and has some time on their hands, they could make these masks. “I am ready to help you if need be. You can just start and if one home even distributes just ten masks to the needy, it is still a huge contribution. And more importantly, you will not be bored at home!” she said.
After the viral ‘Saree Challenge’ why not take up a challenge to help people and make masks? Do your little bit for yourself and the society by staying at home too.
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