JUBA, May 5 (Xinhua) — In a small newly built warehouse stacked with several sewing machines sits Ayen Maker, a 23-year-old mother of two, with other young people in the South Sudanese capital who are busy stitching thousands of locally made face masks for sale in a bid to counter the threat of the novel coronavirus.
South Sudan is struggling to contain the infectious COVID-19 disease as the number of positive cases has so far risen to 52 cases with two recoveries.
Maker, a professional tailor told Xinhua on Tuesday that she and 49 of her colleagues joined a local private company RAK Media group in Juba to help boost preventive efforts against COVID-19 by manufacturing about 4,000 face masks daily to meet public demand.
Maker disclosed that prior to doing this work which now keeps her busy, she used to operate her small tailoring business to feed her small family, but soon abandoned it following government’s decision on March 26, to impose partial lockdown which left her without work.
Maker now finds satisfaction and motivation in helping secure her community against the existential threat posed by COVID-19.
“I feel satisfied with this work as we are helping the public to secure their lives against COVID-19. We manufacture daily about 4,000 face masks which are bought at a cheaper price of between 600-700 pounds (about 4 U.S. dollars)” said Maker.
She added that this task has provided her with lifeline to earn income to feed her family during the ongoing partial lockdown which has seen several people out of business.
Ibrahim Rahman 28, a colleague of Maker also said that he has found commitment to help the community during ongoing hard times when families and friends have been splintered apart due to social distancing precautionary rules amid COVID-19.
“Since this issue of lockdown came into force I was brought here to do work. My real work is to organize these (cotton clothing) material for making face masks,” said Rahman.
Rahman said that besides gaining more skills from his current work, he could take up similar opportunities when South Sudan fully recovers from COVID-19.
Saidi Isa, a 27-year-old tailor, disclosed that they are doing patriotic work to their country amid huge risks because COVID-19 is a deadly infectious disease.
He added that despite earning income from his work, the big focus is to help South Sudan overcome COVID-19.
“We are even earning income but also helping the country’s preventive efforts on COVID-19,” said Isa.
Ann Rutere, managing director of RAK Media, said they are providing direct employment to citizens because the face masks are stitched by South Sudanese people.
Rutere disclosed that so far they have made about 100,000 face masks which have been sold and others distributed to vulnerable groups in South Sudan.
“It’s something that is going to help everybody because the face masks are stitched by South Sudanese, meaning that they are going to spend their money within the economy and that improves their day-to-day lives,” she added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently revealed that South Sudan’s novel coronavirus infection is increasing on an irregular trend, and that the government and health partners are considering plans of equipping the country with more testing kits and beginning community testing.
“More testing equipment has already been ordered to help speed up the testing of the virus. There is a need to go for community testing, especially for a country like South Sudan, which is experiencing sporadic transmission,” said Wamala Joseph, WHO Epidemiologist. Enditem
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