By staff writer
They say, “it is the thought that counts” but Malawi social media thinks otherwise. Pictures of some pitiful face masks, being sewn by local women in villages for teachers and learners ahead of resumption of classes on September 7, have flooded the social media.
The masks which, according to social media commentators, are way far from being protective, are being sewn in a way that sends everyone to stitches of laughter at seeing someone wearing them.
Some of the pictured masks are designed poorly as they cover the whole face as opposed to the recommended ones which cover only the mouth and nose.
On the other hand, other facemasks are being sewn using only one piece of cloth against the required three layers.
Akometsi visited some mother groups in rural areas of Mzimba on Saturday to appreciate the sewing exercise where it was established that entrusting locals with a serious responsibility like making protective equipment is taking lives of people for granted.
Most women who are designing protective materials that will be used when schools reopen have no technical expertise on how they can make facemasks to the required standards.
Some of the women Akometsi spoke to, acknowledged that they are not knowledgeable on what is required of them to make a standard protective equipment.
Others further complained that the process of sewing such protective equipment is being hampered by lack of adequate resources.
Traditional authority kamlingo Sibande of the district suggested that government must just consider furnishing everyone with required protective equipment.
Other teachers question how they would manage to teach audibly after covering their mouths with a facemask.
“It’s laughable. Anyway, let’s help them leading the education standards to their deathbed. Otherwise, its drama,” commented one of the teachers in a teachers WhatsApp forum.
It must be noted that a lot of schools will face this challenge in as far as creating a safer environment for both teachers and students from the threshold of this invisible enemy called COVID-19. The women must be recommended for the effort they are making because we understand their motive behind it. They want to make sure their children are safe. More work needs to be done to ensure this enemy does not subdue us eventually as a nation due to lack of proper protective gear.