Umoja teaches community about importance of wearing masks

It is compulsory to wear a face mask when out in public.

Masks have become an essential item in the country’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and the Umoja skills development project is throwing its weight behind raising awareness of the importance of wearing them.

Umoja, a refugee development project, has partnered with the Activist Education and Development Centre (AEDC) and Movement for Change Social Justice (MCSJ) to teach Gugulethu residents about the importance of having a mask and wearing it at all times.

They also handed over 10 000 masks to the community at Elukhanyisweni Sports Complex in Gugulethu on Tuesday June 9.

The organisation’s main goal was to promote public awareness and education about wearing and caring for face masks, social distancing, isolation, assessment of other health conditions and raising awareness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) services available during lockdown.

The founder of the Umoja organisation, Liliane Mukidi from Congo said she was happy to have been able to help elderly and disabled people in the community and was grateful to the women who came together to make the masks for the community.

“We made these masks for those who are underprivileged and elderly people and children, because most of the time these categories of people cannot afford and are more at risk. I am so excited and proud of everyone who helped in making this a reality,” she said

Vuyokazi Dubula, director at AEDC, said: “It was important to educate and empower people. We started this initiative because we saw the need in communities such as Gugulethu and Khayelitsha, where people are still without masks. We will also be donating R300 vouchers to those who cannot afford because we saw how difficult it is in these homes when we visit.”

MCSJ co-ordinator Noxolo Mayekiso who tested positive earlier this year, said she was excited to be part of the outreach programme which had trained her in the mass production of masks.

“I am excited to be one of the people who will be changing other people’s lives,” she said.