When she first heard the news that her city would be shutting down due to COVID-19, Susana Navarette thought first of her sewing classes.
For years, Susana has been teaching others in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, how to sew. These sewing classes are just one of the many ways families earn houses through 1MISSION. At an even deeper level, participants in these classes build community with one another, week after week.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic, everything would be changing. No one knew when life would return to normal.
While stocking up on basic necessities at the grocery store, Susana overheard an elderly woman asking where she could find masks. She didn’t want to catch or spread the virus to others. But masks, of course, were in short supply.
Right away, Susana knew what she had to do. She went back to her sewing shop and got to work. Using easily replicable designs, Susana knew her students had the skills to begin making these masks at home. She enlisted a few of her sewing teachers to distribute the materials to students’ homes.
Not only would these masks be helping to stop the spread of coronavirus, this would also be an opportunity for participants to earn some much-needed income at a time when many were out of work.
Before too long, 18 women were at work making masks at home. To date, they have already made 1000 masks that they are giving to their families and selling to their immediate neighbors. Some masks are also being donated to the local hospital for use by doctors and nurses.
This is the power of community development.
Because these sewing students have put in long hours to learn a new trade while strengthening the bonds of friendship in their community, they are in a position to provide for their families and love their neighbors in tangible ways during a difficult time.
We’re all eager for the COVID-19 crisis to be behind us. But in the meantime, we hope this story will inspire you to keep building community. Even if it means we’ll need to get creative for a while.