Youth help fight COVID-19 in Aleppo
Supported by UNICEF, a youth-led initiative produces masks for vulnerable families
Aleppo, Syria, 24 August 2020- With the recent global spread of COVID-19, the demand for surgical masks has increased, driving up their prices and making them unaffordable for already vulnerable families. Years of violence, displacement and depletion of financial resources have taken a toll on children and their families across Syria, only for their needs to be compounded due to the pandemic and a worsening economic situation.
To help vulnerable children and their families protect themselves against COVID-19 and as part of a UNICEF-supported programe for youth, around 200 young people aged 15-18 launched “Make it, wear it!”; a youth-led initiative to produce reusable fabric masks, thanks to a generous contribution from Germany.
The youth gathered in UNICEF-supported adolescent friendly spaces dedicated for courses on vocational trainings, life skills, languages as well as community initiatives, to take a short course on sewing. As a result of the course, the young men and women learned the basics of sewing including using a sewing machine, tailoring cloths and the production of safe masks according to criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO). This has enabled young people to not only produce masks for themselves and their families, but to also make masks to distribute to vulnerable children and families in the governorate, along with awareness-raising messages.
“This initiative does not only help families protect against COVID-19 but also allows youth to play a leading role in addressing the challenges of their communities in a meaningful way,” says Diana Fattal, UNICEF Adolescent Development and Participation (ADAP) officer in Aleppo.
“The situation is becoming serious, and I fear for my family and my community; everyone should wear a mask, and this is my way of helping them protect themselves against COVID-19,”