Since the beginning of 2020, COVID19 have engulfed the global economy, and outspread the fear of death. Amidst of this pandemic, personal protection equipment have become the most necessary and talked about product in the global media as well as public. While N95 masks have become the necessity for the medical professionals, demand for the medical and fabric masks that are used by the public, have also gone through the roof. The shortage of these masks has lead people across the globe to look for many alternatives.
To address the shortage of these masks in the local community, Our Global Village Charitable Foundation (OGV) brought together a small group of ladies, which in days grew up to over 44 members. Since April 20th, this group has dedicated ten weeks to the community mask making project. By June 27th they have made over 12,000 masks
While this group now has made thousands of masks, they had a very shaky beginning. They did not even complete a single mask with full satisfaction on their first day of stitching. This humble beginning picked up a pace and thereafter they made between 300 to 670 masks in a day (Saturday). Once they found their grove, on their fifth Saturday, they committed to an ambitious goal of making 1000 masks on May 23rd, 2020. They prepared hard during the week and collectively surpassed their goal by stitching 1300 masks that Saturday. Since then, they had set a record of making 1792 masks in a day and 2227 in a week by mostly working on a Saturday from11:00am to 11:00pm and 2-4 weekday evenings every week from 5:30 to 10:00pm.
When OGV started this project, they had planed to make a few thousand masks within a few weekends. Little did they know that the growing need will have them inspired and commited
for ten weeks of volunteer work and to the target of making10,000 masks by Canada Day, July1st, 2020, which they surpassed. All OGV volunteers believed that the best way to celebrate Canada day is always by caring for the fellow Canadians. An interesting details about their work is that each of their mask was stitched with much care and it went through hands of ten volunteers before it reached to its end user. It is with much joy, OGV shares that these masks are being provided at no cost to the public.
OGV is an environmental friendly society. It was thus important for them to educate the society that the one time usable medical masks surely provide protection; however, they add to our landfill and increase burden on our resources. Based on the advise of many professionals, OGV believes that the fabric masks on the other hand, provide much of the similar protection as of the medical masks, but have repeated use. The fabric masks that these volunteers have distributed have an opening in the back in which additional level of protection can also be inserted as desired.
The reader will appreciate knowing that the volunteers were all working women in a public or private sector except a few grandmothers who are enjoying their time with their grandchildren.While they have very unique personal and professional experiences, they all believe that everyone should fulfil their civic and social responsibility of giving back to the society. While actively exhibiting their care, courage and perseverance, they also sent written requests to the Prime minister of Canada and Premier of BC for considering to take active, timely and accountable steps to eliminate systemic barrier and discrimination based on race and gender. It is hoped that these actions of the government will ensure employment equity for all the disadvantaged groups (women of colour, aboriginal people, people with disability and visible minorities) and to build a more kinder and prosperous Canada of tomorrow.
The care and courage of these women so far have been recognized by a great number of community leaders, elected member of the British Columbia's the Legislative Assembly and the Canadian Parliament. Their work also has been appreciated by television channels, radio stations, social and paper media. While they offered so much to the community, these ten weeks also supported their good mental health, provided a safe and supported network as well through by singing folk songs during their long volunteer days, they revived and celebrated their cultural heritage.
Thus far the youth wing of OGV has distributed over 8000 masks, and the remaining masks will be distributed in the next two weeks, Following is the list of some of the businesses and organizations who have benefited from receiving these masks:
SOS Children's Village BC
Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association
Star Elders Circle (Strengthening Through Aboriginal Resources) with Indigenous MCFD circle 5
Surrey Urban Mission Society
The Cove (temporary shelter for homeless)
North Surrey Response Centre
PICS (Progressive Inter Cultural Society)
PICS senior home
Hosts of 1550am radio station
Crime Prevention Society
Dukh Niwaran Guru Ghar (152 st. and 68 Ave)
Modi Khana, Food bank, Surrey
York Centre Gurughar
SIkh Academy, Surrey
Laxmi Narayan Hindu Mandir
TISI, temple for Fijian community
Dance with FilmE academy
Karate School staff
Surrey Hospice Society
Sovereign Law Firm
Fabric store workers
Member of Public service of Canada
Dr. Kahlon Medical office and clinic
Apan dental offices ( Surrey/ Vancouver)
Nurses (for personal use outside of Hospital )
Softwood Mill workers
Quality Woodcrafters Factory
Khalsa Credit Union
Cammy Pizza Store
Family attending funeral services
All MLAs of British Columbia (token of appreciation for all the care they provided to all British Columbians)
Surrey community volunteers, local realtors, Bus drivers, warehouse workers, fabric store workers, bank staff members, and seniors.
Burnaby: Dixon society, transition services for women surviving domestic abuse
Vancouver: Taxi drivers, Mr. Lube and Seniors
Pitt Meadows: Waves Coffee (all location of Lower mainland), Solaris Meadows Gate and Seniors
Abbotsford: Many families
Toronto: TD bank staff
Kamloops: Essential workers
Edmonton: Zora Transport
OGV family, appreciates all their supporters, mentors and dedicated volunteers for supporting this longest and strongest project that they have run so far. Special appreciations goes to various individuals and organizations for donating meals, and snacks on every weekday and weekends they volunteered.
To get more information about this project, you may contact Jatinder Bhatia at 778-848-1287 or contact us through our website.
Together we can, together we are and together we will!
On behalf of the entire OGV team