A SOMERSET-based charity is donating much-needed face masks to rural villages in India as they battle the coronavirus pandemic.

With the help and permission of local authorities, Wells on Wheels has committed to donating 10,000 masks to residents of Maharashtra – a state in Western India which is currently battling with rising daily new cases and deaths from the disease.

Founder of Wells on Wheels, Shaz Memon, has made the decision to help these underprivileged after identifying strong inequality in the region.

“The inequality embarrasses and upsets me," Shaz said.

"The underprivileged have the right to feel ‘safer’ to protect their families.

"They are just as scared as anyone else and are more exposed as no care is accessible.

"I am committed to making serious changes."

Previously, the charity had donated thousands of ‘Water Wheels’ to remote parts of the country – a large drum fitted with handles which can be rolled along the ground with ease.

Although wells in rural India are now more accessible than they were 20 years ago, it’s still common to see women of all ages carrying water in a metal pail balanced on their heads for several miles.

The Water Wheel prevents the health burdens and cycle of poverty that water collection can create, transporting up to 5x more water per trip compared to a standard bucket.

This life-changing innovation is also allowing young girls to stay in school and receive education as they no longer need to be involved in water collection.