As COVID-19 makes its brutal way across the world, even countries with the most sophisticated healthcare systems and resilient populations are suffering. When a disease like coronavirus makes its way to the African continent, disaster truly strikes, impacting millions of people who often do not have access to basic sanitation facilities for washing their hands, never mind healthcare services. Rural Madagascar is noted by the World Bank as the poorest country in the world.
Here there are few health services; many people’s immune systems are already compromised; mortality rates are among the worst in the world and communication systems, to tell people about the virus and how to avoid it, are poor. It is predicted as much as 10% of the population may die from coronavirus.
SEED Madagascar are a UK-based charity, who have been carrying out humanitarian and environmental work on the island for the last 20 years. Now our work is even more crucial. As part of our community preparedness initiative, we are working with local authorities to create and distribute messaging on social distancing and sanitation, both digitally and physically, to the communities we work with.
Amongst the projects they have helped set up is a Cooperative called Stitch Sainte Luce.
Stitch Sainte Luce is a women’s cooperative, which has taught embroidery, as well as business skills in maths, sales and English language, to over 100 women, so that they can produce and sell the products to help bring an income to families in the poorest country in the world, where almost 80% of the population lives on less than $1.90 per day.
The beautiful and unique handcrafted products, which Stitch Sainte Luce produce, are now sold online, and include cushion covers, purses, ties and bracelets.
Now, however, the women’s skills are being put to another use. They are helping to make much needed face masks for those on the island, during the coronavirus crisis… but they need your help and support.
There are a number of ways to support the initiative. The products the women made before the crisis are still available to buy online, and all proceeds from their sale go directly to the Cooperative and to helping with the production of masks. Visit the Stitch website to find out more.
You can also make a donation directly to the Masks for Madagascar Appeal, whether a financial contribution or, if you have the skills to make them yourself, 100% cotton face masks. You can find details on how to make the masks through the Masks for Madagascar link, by visiting https://madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk/cf/masks-for-madagascar