People usually hear the stories of health workers during this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-10) pandemic but they are not only ones who exhibit heroism during this difficult time. Everybody can do something in their own little way. We all have a role to play; we just have to find how our skills and talents can be of best use to those who are affected.
Private organizations and individuals are finding ways to address the growing public health concern regardless of the industry they are part of.
Members of the fashion industry are doing their part by addressing the shortage in sewing face masks as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) suits. One of them is Claiza Bihasa, who specializes in bridal clothing. She owns Claiza Bihasa Atelier.
She saw the problems the healthcare industry is facing when she was supposed to be admitted to a private hospital in Metro Manila a few weeks ago. A lot of health workers were not properly equipped with the adequate protection compared to other countries.
“If this can happen to a private hospital, what more in the public hospitals? I thought maybe there’s a way that I can best contribute and help out. Since my business is also put on hold, I believe that this was the best way to give back to our frontliners and at the same time, provide continued livelihood to our sewers,” she told Canto in an interview.
Health workers also echoed this problem on social media. This resulted in improvisation through the use of bags, excess foam, and recyclable plastic containers to protect themselves from COVID-19.
With this, Bihasa found a way to help the country while keeping her team employed. She set up a crowdfunding campaign to help fund her PPE production and distribution efforts, which not only helped medical frontliners get much needed equipment but also allowed other Filipinos to join the cause and lend their helping hand through generous donations. However, there were challenges even with their good intentions.
“As of now, the challenges that we have encountered are mostly centered on the shortage of fabrics needed to produce PPEs,” Bihasa told Canto.
Bihasa’s team provides a solution to this problem by constantly looking for suppliers and eyeing other alternative raw materials that are safe and durable. In addition, they are trying to get donations to make and acquire the materials needed for the PPE.
“Acquiring more manpower is another challenge because of the quarantine in place along with the requirement for social distancing,” she added.
Bihasa’s team has managed to acquire a total amount of P100,000 cash donations on their first day. This allowed them to create 280 pieces of PPEs and they are hoping to create more as long as PPEs are needed.
“We praise God for the initiative of Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club for providing us with proper guidelines in coming up with alternative ways to make PPEs. We hope to turn over 500 pieces by April 11 to the first set of recipients. Hopefully, we can make more than 2,000 pieces in the weeks to come,” she noted.
Bihasa and her team are a prime example of how Filipinos uphold bayanihan during this difficult time. Everybody can have a part to alleviate the struggle of the people mostly affected by this crisis.
Bihasa summarized the Filipino’s nature of service: “No matter how small an idea is, when citizens with good intentions come together and unite, bigger things can certainly be accomplished. No act is too small if we all put our minds and efforts together for a greater purpose.”
If you’re interested to donate, you may get in touch with Bihasa using the details below: