Empathy in Critical Times: From Producing Masks to Creating Artificial Ventilator Devices in Afghanistan

After the outbreak of the coronavirus in Afghanistan, everyone is trying to help the people. Some have provided food to the disabled, others have produced and distributed masks to citizens, and a number of businessmen and homeowners have exempted renters from paying rent until the end of quarantine days.

A resident of western Kabul wrote on his Facebook page that “we were exempted from paying rent until the end of the quarantine.”

Some have also sewn masks in Kabul and in the other provinces.

Mask Sewing

In the past few days, the governor of Daikundi province has been announcing the free sewing of the mask through an open competition, in which the Daikundi Literacy Department and its professional management department have been able to sew these masks.

“We have a management called Salafi or Professional Management, which works in the arts and crafts. It includes tailoring, knitting, embroidery, and is run by the administration,” said the director of literacy at the Daikundi Department of Education.

The literacy department has announced that if businesswomen or tailors want to sew masks for Daikundi citizens, they can participate in the competition and be able to take responsibility for sewing the masks.

The free competition was attended by 10 businesswomen and female tailors, whose project has been entrusted to Ms. Zomord Hosseini, Director of Literacy Education in Daikundi.

Due to the current situation, 2 teachers and the director of the professional department are working daily, and 50 to 60 masks are produced daily.

“Due to the teachers’ leave and the critical situation, we can’t bring together many teachers, so only two teachers and a professional manager work every day,” the literacy department told Reporterly.

The company bought the needed materials for providing the masks and sold the mask which have cost 45,000 AFN so far.

But this is an exception for people with disabilities who have financial problems.  The government prepares the masks at its own expense and then distributes them.

These masks are sold to the provincial authorities.

Women in Need of Work

The Afghan Green Future Institute has taken an interesting initiative due to the crisis. The institute selects women who need money and jobs and provides them with materials and equipment for making masks so that they can both work and earn a living by sewing masks.

Masks sewn by these women will be provided free of charge to government employees in the landfill, police and traffic staff departments.

The institute now employs 80 women, 50 of whom work with sewing machines and another 30 who work with their own sewing machines.  The wages of these women also vary according to how much they sew in a month.  Those who can afford more masks will earn 10,000 AFN, and those who produce fewer masks will earn 7,500 AFN.

The works are being carried out at home, and the team in charge of the institute collects masks from women.  The project, which is being implemented in Kabul, is set to continue in other provinces.

“Women can get 200 to 300 masks a day, and some of them only sew 100 masks, because our process has just begun and the masks have not yet been collected,” Mohammad Anil Ghasemi, an official at the institute, told Reporterly.  “We are facing a shortage of staff. Due to the problems and quarantine days, we have decided to collect all the masks over the weekend.”

Distribution of Food

The Afghanistan Green Future Institute which established last year have distributed food to more than 600 people, the unemployed, peddlers and the needy, that the process continues in the 15th and 11th PDs of Kabul.  The teams of these two districts each consist of 12 volunteers who work in this area while maintaining good health.

They believe that every citizen should work together to solve the problems of the citizens according to their ability in this crisis in order to solve the challenge.

Following these philanthropies, the media has reported that Herat’s robotic girls were creating artificial ventilator devices.  These girls are also trying to fight the coronavirus with the help of the health team.

Herat’s robotic girls claim to have created an artificial ventilator devices that can be useful to patients in these critical situations.

But their work has met with a backlash from the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health believes that robotics girls have no medical engineering knowledge and that these devices should not be used because they can pose a risk to patients.

Zackaria Noori contributed reporting.

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