During the initial days of the lockdown, Anika Mariam Varghese, a Class 8 student from Kottayam, Kerala, was scouring the internet to find homemade hand sanitiser methods and trying to source ingredients from shops that were open at the time.
It all started off when the lockdown was announced and Anika was not able to find hand sanitizers in shops in Kottayam. Her mother Divya then suggested that she look up the internet for ways to make hand sanitisers at home.
She managed to get a simple method online and was able to source the ingredients from a few medical shops that were open at the time. The sanitisers are made as per World Health Organisation guidelines.
She made an initial batch of four litres which she put into small bottles and started distributing in the neighbouring areas, to people at hospitals and essential services workers. She found that a lot of people found this helpful and asked her where they could get more. One thing led to another and she started making larger quantities of hand sanitisers at home.
But she soon realised that there is a limitation to the amount of hand sanitisers she could make at home. She also faced problems of sourcing enough bottles to store them in. That's when she decided to share information on how to make hand sanitisers at home to other kids in various cities across India. She contacted her cousins and friends in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai and started taking online classes on the process of making and bottling hand sanitisers. She also uploaded a video of this on YouTube - https://youtu.be/7VErcQwRdCw.
Rehan Kurian Paulose, a Class 7 student in Bengaluru, says, "My cousin Anika told me about how to make hand sanitisers. I found the ingredients easy to source from medical shops and the recipe easy to make. I have made a few litres which I have distributed to the watchmen and our neighbours in our apartment complex."
What started off as a small initiative has now snowballed into an initiative across multiple cities as school kids in Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai have now started making these hand sanitisers at home. This just goes to show that no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
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Anika's recipe for all those out there who want to to try this at home -
Ingredients for 3 cups of hand sanitisers -
2 cups of rubbing alcohol (available in medical shops)
1 cup of Aloe Vera gel (available in medical shops)
A few drops of perfumed oil (optional)
Recycled bottles for storage
A funnel to pour
In a bowl, pour the aloe vera gel
Add rubbing alcohol in it and mix well
Add a bit of perfumed oil to have fragrance
Stir to combine until there is a smooth consistency
Your hand sanitiser is ready
You can now store it in a recycled air tight bottle by pouring it through a funnel.