Every day nurses and doctors go to work in the knowledge that they are at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic. Their only physical protection are quality masks, protective clothing and sanitising agents. However, the need for quality masks currently outweighs their availability. This is where 58th Air Scout Group SGL Greg Southey, his wife Madeleine and members of their Scouting mom’s craft group stepped in to provide 800 masks for nurses in various hospitals and clinics throughout the KwaDukuza-Stanger area, north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
“My wife has a small sewing business and when the Covid-19 lockdown took effect she stopped trading. One of her clients is local paediatrician Dr D Pansegrouw, who works in various clinics and government hospitals”, explains Greg. “There were a number of nurses who don’t work with patients infected with Covid-19, but who were in need of quality masks that could be re-used once sanitized. The doctor was able to source the material needed and we decided to do our bit to help by volunteering our services.
Our Scouting moms have a craft group that meets every 1st Friday of the month. In those meetings they learn a new craft. We reached out to them and they agreed to assist in sewing masks. They made 200 masks in line with the government regulations that have folds and elastics around the ears. My wife and I used her industrial sewing machines to make a further 600 masks with detachable elastics which can then be washed separately before being re-used by the nurses on shift the following day.
I feel privileged to have been able to help and to show my Scouts that it doesn’t take a lot of money or big gestures to make a difference. All contributions help and I’m just glad that we were able to give the nurses on duty in our area some peace of mind as they use the masks”, says Greg.
“It is amazing to see that such a simple thing, like a mask, can change someone’s motivation and encourage so many.
When asked how the masks made by the Scout volunteers and parents have made a difference, doctor Pansegrouw replied “It is amazing to see that such a simple thing, like a mask, can change someone’s motivation and encourage so many. Many of the sisters at the different clinics believe that these masks have saved lives. Some of the masks have been given to the poorest of the community that visited the clinics.”
“This is an example of how Scouters can help in an emergency and at the same time teach a sense of responsibility to the community”, adds KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Regional Commissioner Garth Kloppenborg.
“Our Scout Group members don’t live in privileged environments and data and online access is not always available”, continues Greg. “However, we have been sharing Scouting challenges for them to undertake at home such as the current #HikeToMahikeng which encourages them to get some exercise. Our Scouts have been diligently focused on completing their schoolwork, and some have truly stepped up and are helping their parents – who are essential service providers – around the home. That makes me very proud to see.”
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