Be a hero, join us in making 10MillionMasks

By Avisha Naicker Time of article published Apr 21, 2020

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Social distancing, using hand sanitisers, washing our hands regularly with soap and water, and wearing a face mask are some of the measures we have all had to put in place to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although face masks are critical elements in curtailing the virus, there is a dire shortage of medical-grade face masks in South Africa.

In support of these measures and in an attempt to flatten the curve, Independent Media is running the Heroes Don't Wear Capes, They Wear Masks campaign as part of its ongoing social awareness initiatives. 

The #10millionmasks campaign, which has been run separately by several NGOs, was invited by Independent Media to partner with it in this common goal: encourage people to make face masks using material they have at home. It is hoped that this combined effort will ease the burden on the supply of medical masks which would best be used by healthcare workers and other service providers who work directly with the public.

10MillionMasks target is to get 10 million fabric masks to the people who need them. And with the flu season approaching and the Covid-19 virus being rife, there can never be too many masks.

According to co-founder of the 10MillionMasks campaign, Saskia Kunneke of Saskia's Interiors, their call to action started one week prior to South Africa's lockdown, when the shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) globally began to make international news headlines.

"We appeal to all South Africans during this lockdown period to help to slow the spread of Covid-19 by creating handmade fabric masks and distributing them throughout our communities.

"We are pleased to say that beyond our borders, there are now various 10MillionMasks groups sewing masks in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Botswana to name a few - and all with the same message, “I protect you and you protect me".

The Heroes Don't Wear Capes, They Wear Masks campaign is an ideal opportunity for businesses and community members to come on board and be a part of this increasingly-important joint initiative.  

One Good Samaritan, retired 80-year-old Farouk Vahed from Havenside, Chatsworthm decided to hop on board when the opportunity arose to be a part of this community-based drive. Vahed used to run a haberdashery business and was previously willing to give away elastic and cotton to anyone sewing and selling things to earn a basic income. 

However, after being made aware of the campaign, Vahed decided to donate between 10 000 and 15 000 metres of elastic to be used in the making of the face masks. He said that he understands the vital need for these masks during the Covid-19 pandemic and is more than happy to contribute towards such a worthy cause. 

Vahed says he still has some elastic and cotton that he is happy to part with and can be contacted on  031 4001769 / 084 657 5823. 

Download and print our easy to use cut-out pattern for a face mask, follow the step-by-step instructions on how to make it. Then be a hero too, make your mask and wear it.

Then take a picture of you and your family wearing your masks, post it on IOL's Facebook page and you could stand a chance to win a R500 Loot voucher.

For more information and to be a part of the Heroes Don't Wear Capes, They Wear Masks campaign, please send an email to [email protected] 

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