, 11 June, 2020 / 11:30 PM
Members of the Congregation of the Handmaids of Divine Redeemer (HDR) in Accra, Ghana who are engaged in producing face masks that they give to needy members of society amid COVID-19 pandemic are saying the initiative is part of their Charism as a Religious Order of nuns.
“As part of our Charism as HDRs (is) to care for the sick and needy in our community, we were motivated to sew masks to distribute to our needy neighbors who might not have the means to own a face mask,” Sr. Gabriella Nada Nadine Yankey, a member of HDR told ACI Africa correspondent Wednesday, June 10.
Sr. Gabriella explained, “The ban on public gathering and the insistence on the wearing of face masks to protect people from contracting and spreading the coronavirus motivated us as Nuns to venture into the sewing of face masks.”
“We anticipated to produce and distribute 10,000 and/or more but so far within this period, we have produced more than 6,000 pieces of face mask and we hope to meet the needs of people especially our churches with the easing of restrictions where everyone is required to wear a mask to church,” the Ghanaian nun said.
She further said that the initiative aims at reducing “the spread of the virus and prevent people from getting it, help the needy ones in the community who cannot afford a face mask, raise awareness of the Congregation and publicize the other functions of our Congregation in dioceses.”
“Since we want to help reduce the number of new cases of infected people in our own small way and to help to reduce its spread and also to prevent individuals from contracting the virus, we decided to save Ghanaians by sewing the face masks and encouraging people to wear the face masks as they abide by the health directives laid down by the president,” she reiterated.
The wearing of face masks in Ghana is mandatory when at public functions per the Public Health Act on “Emergency powers in respect of public health matters.”
In his April 25 statement, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye directed that face masks be worn “in all public places where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing.”
As of Thursday, June 11, the West African nation had recorded 10,358 cases of the coronavirus including 3,824 recoveries and 48 deaths.
The nuns are also producing the face masks for corporates, an initiative that was not envisaged at the beginning.
“Sale of the face mask wasn't part from the onset of the production; it was a charitable deed we aimed at doing,” Sr. Gabriella said and added, “As time went by, individuals and groups opted to make a request for distribution as well.”
“In a bid to sustain and keep producing for the needy neighbors, we had to put it out on sale for those (institutions and individuals) who demanded high quantities of the face masks,” she clarified.
The nuns are currently producing 500 to 700 face masks per week for entities within Accra Archdiocese and Agomanya in the Koforidua Diocese in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
“We have ten Reverend Sisters working on the production from Monday to Saturday for a 12-hour period with about two-hour break,” Sr. Gabriella said.
She explained, “The production is weekly because there are days, which are assigned to a particular task; measuring and cutting of the fabric on Mondays, stitching and ironing on Tuesday, putting the pieces together, aligning the fabric, sewing, heat pressing, and packaging within the other days.”
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