Project ‘Arpan’ is an eight-member team that’s making face masks and providing them for free to the public. It consists of 11 to 15-year-old students of Lala Ram Kumar Agarwal School, Naini, Prayagraj, who are enthusiastically showing the world what being sensitive and vigilant can do to our society.
Sidharth, (class 12), Saumya, Saniya, Roshini, Shristi (all class 10), Shikha (class 9), and Tanu (class 8) make 500 masks per day and till now, have helped over 5000 individuals. Isn’t this commendable?
“When the school got closed during the lockdown and my wife, Pratiksha, was managing the online teaching, the thought was discussed among the teachers and some of the students that why not use the spare time and start trying making facemasks, and when mother of one of the student showed the prototype, we instantly decided to go ahead”, said Anuj Agarwal, a resident of Naini, told TOI.
He further added, “Around 10-12 masks are made from one-meter cloth and including the expense of elastic, each of the masks costs us around Rs 5. Thus, project Arpan kicked off and we have distributed over 5000 masks among different villages like Cheoki, Dadri, Dubrajpur, Naini Goan, Samugara, Vishnupur, etc”.
The school provides the clothes and these students prepare masks out of them. After attending the online classes, the junior students get to cutting the cloth and elastics and the senior students, under their parents' guidance, sew them together to make masks and distribute them free of cost to petrol pump customers, vendors, policemen, newspaper hawkers, and basically to any common man who they spot without the safety accessory.
Children are individually doing this work from their home followed by collecting the final item for distribution. Every day, early in the morning, these kids, along with their Principal Kushal Singh, go door to door in the villages of the trans-Yamuna area and tell people about symptoms of Corona and that wearing a mask is important.
“During this task, I have never seen these kids getting tired or unable to explain their motive to the villagers. In fact, since the majority of the team members are girls, they get easy access to the houses in the village, meet the women folk and explain as to how to use the mask, wash with care and reuse the same every time they go out in the open”, said Kaushal Singh, the principal.
“This is something that I owe to my alma mater and witnessing the sheer selfless commitment of these young students, their approach to the pandemic is enough to give the strength to anyone fighting the hardships of life”, said Sukriti Singh, a former student of the school and the key member of the project.
“We don’t have green or blue colour cotton cloth here at Naini and likewise, the stock of elastic, thread is over, too. Now, we are somehow managing to contact the wholesaler of the city and procure the raw material”, said Anuj.
Now that the blue or green cloth is temporarily unavailable, the students have begun using the black coloured cloth. Their noble cause is being supported by many and only recently, on 20th April, IG Police Officer, K P Singh, contributed by sending 200 meters of cloth for the masks.
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