Colorful Masks as a First Step to COVID-19 Awareness

Children in Zaid Al-Mushki School are determined to do their part in stopping the spread of coronavirus

UNICEF Yemen
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UNICEF/UN0607609/Al-Basha
15 May 2022

COVID-19 has infected nearly half a billion people, killing millions and disrupting lives across the globe. Social distancing is the surest way to avoid infection, but it is especially difficult to maintain in schools. Together with social distancing, masks are an important safeguard against COVID-19.

In Taizz Governorate, Yemen, UNICEF organized awareness-raising activities about the virus and distributed washable cotton masks to community members, including school students and teachers.

Afef Mansour, 35, is a field officer in Al Mudhaffar district.

“After infected cases were reported in Taizz governorate,” she notes, “these masks were distributed as one of the first preventative measures against COVD-19 while ensuring that students adhere to other measures such as personal hygiene and social distancing.”

These masks are made of quality cotton, which allows them to be washed and reused. Mansour says that students and teachers had previously used tissue-paper masks, which were disposed of after a few hours’ use.

“There is a lack of health awareness of the importance of wearing a mask in society in general, so we strive during the distribution to urge students to wear masks on an ongoing basis”, adds Mansour.

Her main concern related to the pandemic is its impact on education as the school year was suspended or shortened because of COVID-19 two years in a row.

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Field officer in Salh District Ahlam Sultan is a member of the team that distributed masks in the Mudhaffar and Cairo districts.

“We distributed masks to limit the spread of the epidemic because schools are overcrowded, and it is difficult to maintain social distancing among students.”, Sultan says. “In the beginning, society was not receptive to the coronavirus pandemic, but after the spread of the virus, people began to fear it.”

This pandemic has had a significant psychological impact on Ahlam and her family as they had to isolate at home, constantly sanitize their hands, and refrain from visiting family or having relatives over.

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UNICEF/UN0607581/Al-Basha
A girl wears the mask she has just received at Zaid Al Mushki School in Taizz city, Yemen.

Sabah, 14, a student at Zaid Al-Mushki School, is well aware of the importance of masks in preventing infection and virus spreading.

“Masks are the number one means of protecting our society, our friends, and loved ones from all viruses and diseases. Before UNICEF distributed masks, we used tissues, sterilizers, and household cleaners, but now we have masks in multiple shapes and colors to protect us”

Children in Zaid Al-Mushki School are determined to do their part in stopping the spread of coronavirus because they do not want their school, markets, and streets to close down again.