The Covid-19 pandemic has cost thousands their jobs, but some women on the Cape Flats are putting food on the table by making personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers.
Fadua Coetzee, 37, of Bonteheuwel is a single mom with three children. In May, she landed a contract to make PPE for Melomed Hospital. She and her mother make about 500 gowns and coveralls a day .
Melomed’s need for gowns and coveralls is giving work to unemployed streamstresses in Grassy Park, Mitchell’s Plain, Manenberg and Bonteheuwel.
Ten women are able to produce 2 000 coveralls and gowns a day, according to Melomed group marketing manager, Shameema Adams.
Ms Coetzee has been sewing since 2004.
“I had to make a sample, and they liked it, and then I looked for a cutter and we got the contract. This has helped me so much as I’m able to provide for my children now. Things have been tough financially and this really helps.”
Ms Adams said the hospital wanted to help communities that had been hard hit by the pandemic’s economic consequences.
“Melomed has taken the initiative to empower these local communities by engaging in contractual work for PPE with them instead of placing orders with commercial suppliers for imported products.
“What makes this even more special is that the cut-make-and-trim providers are the families of the staff working at Melomed hospitals.”
The work opportunities were supporting up to 30 families, Ms Adams said.
Sharon Cupido, 50, of Bonteheuwel, started cutting the gowns and coveralls since the start of the lockdown in March as she and her husband were both unemployed at the time. Lockdown slammed the brakes on her cut-make-and-trim business, but now she can provide for her family again.
“I cut about 1 000 units a day, and I am able to see to my two children now,” she said. “I am so thankful for the opportunity. They’ve lifted me up, and I was able to put up a carport. I’ve never had the money to do that.”