One cotton saree is not a project but an emotion — a feeling to care and share that began as a small initiative of around 50 sarees donation drive six years ago, Reached 3,000 or so this year. A school teacher by profession with Calcutta Girls High School, Suchandra Hazra, started this kindness chain from a small village near Shantiniketan, Bolpur in 2014 and since then it's only seen more participation.
Hazra was feeling nervous for this year, a year of pandemic. Tough times that have been witnessed, but it was just beyond overwhelming to see donations flow in from far and wide. An initiative she shares on her personal social media including Facebook sees contribution from friends, family and even many of her students and ex students.
"Last year we collected and distributed 2400 sarees. This year we weren't sure of how it would be given the pandemic. But it's been overwhelming. We've collected close to 3,000 sarees," Hazra says
The demand from the women folk is pure cotton printed sarees that are for every day wear. "Each saree is carefully picked and is priced at Rs 350 a saree. Initially we just distributed them just near Bolpur, but this year we've sent it to many villages especially tribal belt."
On day 1 of distribution, on Friday, October 16, 800 plus sarees have already been sent out to the women from these rural areas. On Sunday, 200 sarees were given away.
This is not just the only initiative, Hazra has set up a family trust last year called "Aaro Aakash Reaching Out" with her husband and family members. Trust also has been organising skill development classes for kids from the weaker sections, drama and theatre workshops have been conducted that has been a huge hit amongst the children. Kids have been given clothes during Puja, from time to time medical camps have been set up too.
So while India fights Corona, and everyone is grappling multiple challenges, One Cotton Saree, spreads a smile, this Durga Puja season