Cloth mask initiative makes it possible for Grabouw seamstresses to earn income
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Cape Town – The Ubuntu Cloth Mask initiative has made it possible for a group of eight seamstresses in Grabouw to earn an income during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through manufacturing a total of 1 500 quality, non-medical cloth masks, they also help ensure that vulnerable people receive free donated masks.
The public-private initiative brought together partners including Western Cape on Wellness (WoW!), The Health Foundation, Coconut Jazz, the Infection Control Africa Network, and community seamstress networks.
They are dependent on donations, sales and/or orders from the private sector and the public, and all proceeds are used to purchase fabric and pay the community seamstress networks, such as the one based in Grabouw.
The seamstresses are currently manufacturing an additional 4 000 masks for the Ubuntu Cloth Mask project.
Seamstress Nicoleen Snay, part of the NGO Crafting Hope in Grabouw, was recruited last month to form part of the initiative to manufacture Ubuntu Masks. Each seamstress makes a small profit. Fabric cut-outs for masks, quality control, packaging and distribution are managed in partnership with Coconut Jazz.
“We are grateful for this short-term work opportunity and the exposure our business will gain from being part of this initiative,” said Snay, who shares a factory room at Kleinbegin Elgin Timbers with two other seamstresses, Euphemia Pietersen and Ivy Gertze.
Snay and her colleagues have been sewing and producing home-made products such as bags, overalls and pillowcases for several years. Last year, they also participated in the sewing programme offered by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, which has also temporarily lent them sewing machines. Before lockdown, they sold their products at the town’s market on Saturdays.
“We are thankful to be able to contribute to the government’s efforts to help prevent people from getting the coronavirus,” she said.
To support the Grabouw seamstresses and other local seamstresses, contact Harry Grainger: [email protected] or call 072 613 3719.
Masks can be purchased via https://ubuntuclothmasks.shopstar.co.za/