Who would have thought in 2020 we would be worrying about face masks? But for many of the people we work with it is a serious concern. Imagine for a moment being a young child in Africa; life is extremely hard without the added confusion and challenge of COVID-19. You may have lost a parent, or both, you have no food to come home to and you might be looking after yourself and your siblings during yet another unsettling time in your life. Your only joy, and time for you, is to go to school and try and get the best education possible to help you have a better future. However, you are at risk of losing your place at school, failing your exams, and losing your education, all because you don’t have a mask. The governments, in the countries where we work, are insisting the children wear face masks in order to attend school, but they are not able to provide them, leaving many children stuck at home. You have no money for food, let alone a mask, so what do you do?

Thanks to your support, our face mask project is underway and means we are making free reusable masks for school pupils so they can return to school and take their exams. Through our Empowering programmes in Zimbabwe, Uganda and India, we are fortunate enough to have tailoring equipment and, over the years, we have trained up tailors who are able to work on this new project. So, instead of giving money to a supplier at a higher cost for reusable face masks, and usually a lower quality reusable mask using poor material, we thought we would cut out the ‘middle’ person and become the manufacturer of reusable masks ourselves. This will at least offer some form of protection from COVID-19. We are, therefore, able to make sure that the overall quality is higher; we have been able to choose higher quality materials to use, and in some countries the mask design our tailors used was approved by the Ministry of Health.

This project is proving to be a lifeline for so many, it helps to empower our tailors by providing them with much-needed work and income, and they are really enjoying the responsibility that what they are making is so important. They are of course, following strict social distancing measures in their workplace. It also allows children to return to school without choosing between food in order to survive or buying a mask.

So far in Zimbabwe and in India they have made over 2,000 masks! This is such a great answer to prayer, as it has already helped so many people who otherwise would not be able to source a face mask. We do however, ask you to support this project, as there are still many more that desperately need to be made and distributed, which will enable more children to be able to go back to school and continue with their vital education.

We distribute these free of charge in the countries where we work because many people are unable to afford masks.  If you would like to help a child receive a face mask, please donate below.

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