India — PUNE During the Covid-19 pandemic, women took the lead in several ways, be it in the field of healthcare or simply in lending a helping hand to the needy and stranded. Hindustan Times caught up with these exemplary women who made a difference even in difficult circumstances.
At Mylabs Discovery Solutions, three women have been involved in creating a solution for screening kits for Covid.
Shefali Desai, general manager, applications support; Minal Dakhave Bhosale, general manager- research and development and Mitali Patil, general manager – production and compliance, together with seven others in the team created a solution for screening kits for Covid.
Bhosale and her team provided India’s first testing kit a day before she delivered her daughter.
“The efforts of my team helped us develop the Covid test kit in a record time,” she said.
“Initially I was going to the facility, but due to pregnancy complications, I was not able to visit the office, so I started working from home. It was difficult for me to sit for long hours, but I took this as a challenge. The efforts paid off as our team delivered the kit in a record time of six weeks,” she said.
Desai said, “I wore multiple hats at the same time working with cross-functional teams. This could be achieved because of the support I got from family and colleagues.”
“During the lockdown travelling from home to work place and back home was a challenge. We scaled up from 2,000 test kits a day to two lakh a day in six weeks. I feel proud of the efforts that our team has put in,” said Patil.
Similarly, Jayashree (Rekha) Deshpande (56), a resident of Sadashiv peth and a mother of three girls, recalls the day when the lockdown was announced. “I am a counsellor and run a tiffin service from home for an old age home nearby. On March 25, 2020, I had prepared tiffins to be delivered to the old age home, but the police bandobast stopped us, which got me thinking of how will other senior citizens and others living in my area survive,” said Deshpande.
“My concern was getting food to those senior citizens who were alone, single or with their partners bedridden. Hence I approached the police and applied for an essential services pass and began by delivering home-cooked meals twice a day to nearby senior citizens,” she said.
Deshpande supplied tiffins to at least 120 senior citizens who were physically disabled and stranded students in the area for almost three and a half months free of cost.
“My youngest daughter Aishwariya, who was to get married in May 2020, had taken a wedding loan, suggested that we use that money to prepare meals for others,” she added.
Deshpande’s daily routine during the lockdown period was to wake up at 3 am and prepare 200 chapatis and cook vegetables and keep them ready by 7.30 am, whereupon the students stuck at the hostel nearby would come to help pack the tiffins against free meals.
“My husband passed away 14 years back, I know the value of a meal,” she said.
In Navi peth, Rekha Dalat (30), originally from Latur, who works with an NGO while studying for MPSC exams, took up the mammoth task of preparing and feeding the stranded students in the city. During the lockdown, she along with her group of 50 volunteers fed at least 5,000 students every day.
“I stay with my brother here. He is studying for UPSC while I am studying for MPSC exams. When the lockdown was announced several outstation students were stuck in lodges or hostels without proper mess service or means to cook food. So we began cooking meals for our friends, who were living in the peth areas,” she said.
“Later we began to cook meals for at least 5,000 students and distributed it in 22 locations across the city,” she said.