By : Nisha Sinha
Three close-knit friends in Massachusetts, have been working to help Sewa International make masks for health care workers in the current Covid-19 pandemic. They are in their 60s and have been making optimum use of their age and time.
Mrudula, Bhavini and Neela have been friends for almost 30 years. They are retirees but have been busier than usual in the last 2 weeks. They have no time for boredom in the self-quarantine.
Mrudula popularly known as Mrudula Ben is a retired family physician. She and her husband, Harish Patel, have been a part of Sewa USA’s Boston Chapter for 8 years and have been doing fundraisers through various community programs. She got the message out to her friends and they have been crafty enough to make the facial masks.
When she came to know about Sewa’s mask project, she couldn’t just sit back and do nothing knowing all that is going on. She immediately decided to spread the word. Sewa is full of praises for her for being the catalyst in bringing the seniors on board for the mask project.
Mrudula Ben has a word of encouragement for those who want to help in making masks, “At a time of pandemic, the fear and doubts are real, but with proper precaution, we can make a real difference in the lives of people.”
They received an overwhelming support from the local Sewa volunteers. The fabric and sewing machines were delivered at their doorstep. Sewa also provided the sewing pattern and materials needed to make these masks.
Sewa International has a great team of volunteers like Kiran Komaragiri who is putting her time and skills to a great cause. She came forward to help the mask stitching team by conducting online sewing sessions.
She said, “I learnt to be patient to others during my training as a fashion designer and I made sure when the opportunity came, I passed on my skills. This is for a big cause.” Kiran is also a part of the HopTown Legacy volunteers' group.
Eventually the seniors were able to put their skills together with the supplies and standardized written and video instructions to make the masks. While the masks look easy, it does involve a process in order to make them properly.
Bhavini Patel has never made a mask before, but she was determined to challenge herself and learn the art of sewing through video tutorials.
She said, “I had to pay more attention to the details like the pattern and measurements. The online sessions helped me a lot. Overall, it has been a great learning experience.”
The three friends hail from different walks of life and have been volunteering together for many projects but this turned out to be an emotional journey for them.
Bhavini is happy to extend her expertise in times of crisis. For her what matters most is that it is being put to good use for all across the society.
There has never been a dull moment for her at home. Her husband has been helping her in washing, sanitizing and ironing the fabric before stitching. She is full of praises for her husband’s support. “It has been a great team work in making mask.” She said.
Neela Shah has been a pro in sewing for many years. She fondly recalls her memories of sewing some amazing Halloween costumes for her son. Even though she has never made a mask before, she was confident in following the online instructions. She has made approximately 70 masks for Sewa and there many more are in process.
She is touched to see families coming together under the same roof for a noble cause. “It is refreshing to see young people giving their time and energy to community service. I feel proud to contribute through Sewa.”
She is full of praises for Sewa’s volunteers. “They are flexible, have a good attitude, and very committed towards the cause. I am impressed.”
In case you are feeling anxious about the social distancing, Mrudula Ben has some words of encouragement, “Solitude brings creativity. Instead of feeling hopeless about the situation, challenge your limits and learn a new art. I am sure you can put it to use for a good cause.”
Neela Shah echoes her friend’s thoughts, “There is no need to feel bad about the quarantine. If you want to work, you can put your valuable time and mind to good use. Never give up.”
Sewa bows to the undefeated spirit of these seniors and their great camaraderie. They are leading by example of serving the community in distress. If you have the passion to serve the community, look for the ways and means to put your talent and heart to good use. The Covid-19 has made the current social environment gloomy but there is always a silver lining in every cloud.