The COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise. My family and I were not an exception. My parents and I suddenly found ourselves at the mercy of circumstance as our sources of income were suddenly snuffed overnight.

We became one of millions in this nation whose hustle and bustle within Metro Manila was suddenly brought to a screeching halt. At best, this meant a month-long opportunity to lounge around and binge-watch a Netflix series or two. At worst, this meant hanging onto the fine line between life and starvation, most especially for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, which is enough to bring almost any hardened heart to tears.

In an instant, the world around us changed.

Regardless, it did not take too long for my mom, being the creative catalyst that she is, to start getting busy again.

Meet Sew Easy Learning Studio

For the last seven years, my mom has been giving sewing lessons for kids and adults through her studio, “Sew Easy Learning Studio.”

During the Taal eruption a few months back, she took the initiative to create homemade, fabric face masks for the victims of the calamity. (The pattern of the mask was created by Craft Passion.)

Seeing that a similar need had arisen once again, this time for the sake of the medical frontliners risking life and limb to treat the infected, my mom hit the sewing machines right away, whipping out her fabrics and cutting out the patterns like there was no tomorrow.

Inspired by this, I volunteered and lent a helping hand. After spending the start of the year trudging through work stress and facing spiritual battles in my own life, I came to the conclusion that a month of silence would be ample time to commit to something both productive and “others-oriented.”

Making the Handmade Masks

We made the masks so that they could be donated to as many frontline healthcare workers as possible. My mom and I spent entire days making the masks, allocating specific tasks to each other. While my experience with the thread and needle was limited to a mere handful of lessons, I quickly got the hang of it as time went by.

There were times when we would manage to create over fifty or sixty masks in one day. Occasionally, even my dad and younger brother would lend a hand, making this a family affair of sorts. The work did tend to get draining, but we were more than happy to soldier on, knowing that somehow our masks would offer some sort of security—if not full protection from potential infection.

Masks for Our Frontliners

By God’s grace, we have had several generous individuals sponsor the cost of production. So far, we’ve managed to deliver masks to the frontliners at Philippine General Hospital, National Center for Mental Health, and Pasig Children’s Hospital. We have even been able to distribute them amongst our everyday heroes such as the security guards in our village, the vendors at the local palengke and bakery, the Grab and Lalamove drivers who come by to deliver the masks, and even the roving basureros that pass by every so often.

It is our hope that our efforts will continue to bear fruit and help others so long as the quarantine is here to stay. While we do not know what the future holds or how long it will take for the virus to subside, one thing is certain: the time that we have on our hands is undeniably precious. And what better way to use that time than to help out our local communities even in the littlest of ways!

For more information on how to support this initiative, please like and follow Sew Easy Learning Studio on Facebook and Instagram.

Noah Del Rosario

Noah Del Rosario is a creator and storyteller by heart. He graduated with a degree in film and helped form the arts organization, Risen Collective. He is a freelance director, editor, and camera operator by trade, having worked on several short films, commercials, and music videos. His dream is to create films that will bring people closer to Jesus and evoke change in their hearts.