We're making our very own COVID-19 Asilia masks

By Asilia Africa News | 19 May 2020

Like many of you, we’re all itching for the days where we can return to travel and back to our offices. To help keep us busy and do our part in protecting ourselves and others from the coronavirus, we’re using leftover materials from our camp décor — fabrics from cushions, bed linens and other décor — to make more than 100 masks for our staff to wear.

Ester: Our hero mask maker

Meet Ester, one of our talented tailors in northern Tanzania. Ester has been a part of the family since 1995, when Asilia was still known as Sokwe, and had just begun to plant its roots in East Africa.

Ester is originally from Singida, and moved to Arusha 24 years ago. She began working as a cleaner, and from there she learned how to cook in our kitchens and was a chef for our guests. However, Ester was looking for something different to master and took up the art of tailoring. She’s now been a tailor for the past 16 years.

Ester has helped us with countless projects throughout the years, including most of our camp refurbishments and upgrades; nearly all of them feature hand-crafted elements from Ester herself! During this time, however, when we are being asked to stay home and stop the spread of COVID-19, Ester has found new ways to keep herself busy and help keep our Asilia family safe, too.

We have been upcycling leftover material from our Arusha office and camp decor to make masks for our staff in northern Tanzania to wear. Each mask takes around 20 minutes to create and has two outer layers made of kitenge and an inner fibre layer for the filter. Then, of course, the elastics are added as well to go around the ears. Kitenge is an East African, West African and Central African colourful cotton fabric often worn by women, wrapped around their chest or waist as a headscarf or as a baby sling.

To date, Ester has currently made over 100 masks, more than one mask per staff member in our Arusha office – and we are incredibly proud and thankful for the work she has done to keep our staff safe.  

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If you would like to do something from home that can support your community, why not make masks, too? Here is a quick and easy DIY example of a mask pattern that one can easily make and distribute around their communities. 

photo credits: seekatesew

Photo credit: seekatesew


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