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UbuntuCare provides 500k free masks, employment for 250 seamstresses

15 November 2020 2:00 PM
Tags:
Western Cape government
Clicks
Dischem
Women empowerment
COVID-19
free masks
cloth masks
UbuntuCare
UbuntuCare Mask Initiative
Fiona Hadley
The Health Foundation

The public-private partnership is aimed primarily at empowering women in vulnerable communities, says UbuntuCare's Fiona Hadley.

The UbuntuCare Mask Initiative has made a difference in the lives of 250 seamstresses in the Western Cape, and their families.

The public-private partnership has also provided 500,000 free masks to vulnerable communities.

The cloth masks are manufactured to international standards says UbuntuCare partner Fiona Hadley.

UbuntuCare Mask Initiative. Image: ubuntucare.org

Hadley joins Zain Johnson on Weekend Breakfast to talk about how UbuntuCare has grown since it started as a mask-producing project during lockdown.

I'd been in the clothing industry for 26 years and obviously lockdown hit us pretty hard, so masks seemed like an obvious way... but it didn't seem like a way that would contribute anything socially, but I was lucky enough to get into contact with Dr Frederick Marais at Wellness on Western Cape.

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

We put together a model where we would use community seamstresses to manufacture masks that would be given away for free to vulnerable communities.

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

The seamstresses it's provided with employment are from a wide spread of communities across the peninsula.

We haven't targeted any areas - they are spread all over as far as Grabouw, Strandfontein, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha...

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

In the wonderful South African way the word spread and we eventually stopped looking for seamstresses because they were coming to us.

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

All they want is to feed their children basically!

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

Initially the plan was to sell the masks through retailers like Clicks and Dischem and then give away one for every one sold.

However 95% of the masks produced have been through the generosity of donors, she says.

By the time we end it, we'll have given away almost 500,000 masks

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

The initiative is very much slanted towards the empowerment of women as it's more often women who are supporting households financially.

Hadley says the project won't die if there comes a time when masks are no longer needed.

We put it under the umbrella of [NPO] The Health Foundation and we already have two other projects on board that are much more long-term than masks... so that hopefully there can be a seamless transition to other projects so that all these people we've engaged can have continuity of income via UbuntuCare and other projects

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

To empower women financially empowers them in so many other ways as well.

Fiona Hadley, UbuntuCare partner

You can order the masks online at ubuntucare.org.

They cost R60 for a pack of two and each purchase buys two masks which are donated to vulnerable communities (identified by Wellness on Western Cape).

Listen to the conversation on Weekend Breakfast:




15 November 2020 2:00 PM
Tags:
Western Cape government
Clicks
Dischem
Women empowerment
COVID-19
free masks
cloth masks
UbuntuCare
UbuntuCare Mask Initiative
Fiona Hadley
The Health Foundation

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