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Juliana Mustapha (Niger)

Covid-19 is a very scary disease. Unfounded information makes you more afraid of the disease. It was annoying because we were working from home (telecommuting) and frustrating because some people in the community didn’t take it seriously until we had cases of Covid-19 and deaths in the area.

After two weeks of voluntary confinement, I was out to go to the market and buy my mask. So I wanted to buy a mask quickly and there are none in the whole big market in my city, Zinder (Marché Dolé). Finally, I found one and the seller wants to sell it to me at 1000F wish is around 2 US Dollars or nothing, this is where I understood the reason behind why citizens have difficulty in obtaining the mask. It was not available enough and was expensive for a country like mine and especially for this city.

Being a young leader and entrepreneur, I immediately thought of how to help in this situation? We have to quickly find a solution to how to design local masks with the fabrics available to us and sell at an affordable cost (since I don’t have a way to give them to everyone). And that’s when I went to a young tailor to ask him if he can make me a mask by showing him the models I want and off we go for the test phase, we were able to make a about twenty masks that I distribute in my neighborhood especially to beggars who go door to door and to the very vulnerable while explaining to them to make the effort to wash it daily with soap (we say that well-ordered charity begins with this). These beggars served as an example for some fathers to obtain a mask for himself and his whole family.

Today, covid still exists but is not as frustrating as it was over ten months ago. Sensitizations continue and everyone is evolving in their daily activities with their face mask everywhere and trying to respect all measures as much as possible to avoid the disease. We are living with it!

(Local masks pictured made by Juliana) 

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