Seamstress gives free self-made masks

A seamstress in Albay saw the community quarantine period as an opportunity to help her neighbors after local stores in her village ran out of surgical and cloth masks needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Josie Paclibar, 57, says she has made more than a 100 cloth masks and gave it all for free to her neighbors. “Dahil sa COVID-19 nagkaroon ako ng idea kasi kailangan ng mga frontliners at ibang tao. Almost 100 plus na and ongoing na po ang tahi ko. Kada punta dito sa bahay ng mga tao binibigyan ko o kaya yung nakasabit ko pinapipili ko na lang, libre walang bayad.” (COVID-19 gave me an idea on how to help the frontliners and other people. I’ve made more than 100 and still sewing more. Every time a neighbor drops by, I gave them or let them choose from the ready-made ones, free), she says.

Josie, a village treasurer, has been a World Vision volunteer, helping monitor children’s welfare in her rural village. Two years ago, a group of mothers in Josie’s town were provided with sewing machines and tailoring training from World Vision and government agencies to augment for the family’s income.

Josie learned  more on dressmaking from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), a Philippine government agency tasked to provide technical education to Filipinos.

“World Vision partners with TESDA and the local government unit to provide additional livelihood to families in the community. Tailoring is one of the needs that the families identified after our consultation with them,” Junna Daniel, World Vision Program Officer in Albay, explains.

Many in Josie’s town are fishermen and farmers, who rely on seasonal harvest. Like many struggling families, Josie felt the impact of home quarantine in her hometown, too. “Walang trabaho. Ngayong nasa quarantine period nakakatulong din yung honorarium ko at mga relief ng province, municipal at barangay.” (We don’t have work. Now that we are under quarantine period, my honorarium and relief assistance from the province, municipal and village help us), she replies.

Josie previously sew uniforms, curtains and dress from which she earns around Php500 ($10) a piece.

The home quarantine period has also affected her children’s school. “Nakakaapekto sa mga bata dahil hindi sila masyadong nakakalabas at yung college, hindi nila natapos ang second semester.”(Children are affected because they were not able to go out, and [my children who are in college] were not able to finish their second semester), she says.

photo by Marites Orogo