By ANUPAMA JOSHI
Aarnav Sethy, a resident of Dehradun and student of The Doon School, started a project to help the frontline workers of Uttarakhand battling the COVID-19 pandemic, while simultaneously aiding three underprivileged women and contributing towards women empowerment. In a valiant effort to assist them, he started an online project, under the name of ‘Project Dhaga’, an initiative that set out to make face masks for the Uttarakhand Police and provide Personal Protective Equipment Kits (PPE). The beauty of the project was that it was also providing livelihood to three women who had lost their income from various sources due to the pandemic. All material for stitching and sewing masks was provided by the project to these women.
To spread awareness of the campaign and to raise funds, an Instagram page for the project was set up that helped him in reaching out to various people who later became donors for this extraordinary cause. He ended up raising ₹ 1.7 lakhs in donations through an online fundraising platform. A tailoring studio by the name of ‘Saachi Studios’ helped in providing their expertise in stitching masks. A reference video and cardboard cut-outs were provided by this studio that helped the women warriors stitch to the correct measurements and create safe masks for the police.
The material was purchased and the colour of the fabric was decided to be fawn to match the uniform of the police officers. Once all the raw materials and resources were procured, they were handed over to the women warriors to begin stitching. Over the next two weeks, the three women of Navada Village began the tedious process of stitching 1400 masks for the Uttarakhand Police. To add to the pride of the uniform the masks were embroidered with the Uttrakhand Police Logo. Simultaneously 100 PPE Kit were procured for distribution by Aarnav. At the end of the two weeks of stitching, sewing, embroidering, 1400 masks and 100 PPE Kits were ready to be donated to the Uttarakhand Police. These were handed over in the presence of the SP City, Shweta Chaubey to the police as a mark of appreciation for the tremendous work that they have been doing to fight the pandemic. As for the women, Pushpa was able to purchase a smartphone which would greatly help her in her online education. Mamta was able to pay off the long due rent for her shop and home that she was previously unable to pay due to unemployment of her husband, serving as an auto driver, due to the lockdown. Mona, on the other hand, was able to pay for her son’s education and school fees, while simultaneously being able to support her family. Aarnav has rightly learnt the ethos The Doon School stands for – “The Aristocracy of Service.”