African Masks: sewing masks for Africa’s most vulnerable communities

Country

DRC, Kenya, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria

Update

July 9, 2020

Share & Support

African Masks: sewing masks for Africa’s most vulnerable communities

Country

DRC, Kenya, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria

Update

July 9, 2020

Share & Support

When Africa’s first cases of corona were discovered in Egypt and Algeria, the continent held its breath. It is difficult to abide by hygiene and social distancing rules in densely populated and impoverished communities, and not everyone can afford to buy protective face masks. African Masks turned to crowdfunding to provide masks for some of Africa’s poorest communities.

African Masks was established in April 2020 with the main goal of distributing mouth masks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Senegal, Benin, and Nigeria. It also made sure masks are produced locally to preserve employment in times of crisis. Local tailors produce colourful masks using local textiles, making it a win-win-win-win situation: local tailors, cloth producers and traders all profit from the initiative, while the communities receive the masks.

In the first month, African Masks already distributed nearly 7,000 face masks, mainly to motorbike taxi drivers, market traders and elderly living or working in areas with confirmed coronavirus cases. The masks are both reusable and cheap to produce. For every US dollar donated to the African Masks crowdfunding campaign, a member of an at-risk community will be able to protect himself or herself from the virus.   

By providing face masks to people who cannot afford to buy them themselves, humanitarian aid worker and African Masks founder Emilie Serralta tries to offer an alternative to a complete lockdown, which she says is unsustainable in developing countries. As the WHO warned that Africa could be the next corona epicentre, equipping the most vulnerable communities with adequate means to protect themselves is essential. African Masks is doing just that and more.

WWW:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/masks-in-africa
 

Social media:
Twitter: @MasksAfrican
Instagram: africamasks
Facebook: @
africanmasks
LinkedIn: african-masks 
 

Photo credits: Michael Kalamo