'We are contributing to our country by stitching masks for needy'

new delhi: "We are poor but we are contributing to the country by stitching masks for the needy people," said Maya, a resident of Brar Square clusters in south-west Delhi. People living here have come forward to help each other during the pandemic situation.

Maya along with 10 other women got help from the Railway Protection Force (RPF), who provide them raw materials and sewing machines that allow them to stitch around 150 masks every day for people living in their cluster and the needy.

"Earlier we found that people hesitated in sharing their problems with us, so we chose 20 local people as volunteers and they were first trained and then given a task to reach out to other residents and ask if they need any help," an RPF official said, adding that it yielded results and they came to know that there were around 30-35 children who needed vaccination and 17-20 pregnant women who required medical treatment.

In Brar Square clusters, there are around 500 shanties and people living there are dependent on daily wages but after the lockdown, they had no work. "Not everyone can buy a mask. We are satisfied that at least our stitched masks are worn by poor people," said Kavita, another resident of the slum cluster.

One of the volunteers, Prakash said: "We tell people about reasons behind the lockdown and precautions to be taken, including social distancing." With the help of volunteers, the RPF also distributes food in the slum.

Firoz, another volunteer said: "People ask us about where this food is coming from. They also ask us where they should go if they need any help or medical support. We have asked them to tell us about their needs and that we would get the concerned authorities involved."

He further said: "I have a 2-year-old daughter who has a heart problem. She is also getting treatment."

Nitin Mehra, inspector (RPF) Safdarjung have been looking after these people. RPF has arranged a mobile medical van which provides medicines to pregnant women, senior citizens or any needy person.

AN Jha, senior DSC (RPF) said that they are running such programmes in clusters near the railway tracks in Nizamuddin, Anand Vihar, Daya Basti and Brar Square.

"We are strengthening communities living near tracks, to ensure that there is no community-level transmission of COVID-19. Through local people of the particular community, we are creating awareness among residents," he said, adding that they have also made residents download the Aaryog Setu application on their mobile phones, so that they can self-report symptoms.

Security Commissioner (East), Harish Papola said that they are also providing free meals to these people. "Each volunteer has been asked to keep a tab on 20 clusters and inform us if residents living there require any kind of help. We will soon increase our volunteers so that we can reach out to more people," he said.

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