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CDI members mask up to help protect lives and livelihoods

Sunday, 28 June 2020  
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Image above: masks made by CDI member WeAllShareRoots

 

South African craft and design SMMEs have risen to the challenge of producing locally made masks to help protect the public. The CDI has seen an incredible effort amongst its members over the past number of weeks as businesses, from individual entrepreneurs to larger enterprises, have put ramping up mask production front and centre to protect lives and livelihoods.

 

CDI members mask up

 

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa and the consequent deep and severe impact on craft and design businesses, the CDI has witnessed the resilience and ingenuity in the local sector. Masks have become one of the key products SMMEs are using to ensure they create income, and many have gone above and beyond through donating hundreds of masks to those in vulnerable communities who may not be able to afford them.

 

“The loss of livelihood is one of the biggest tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what we have seen over the past several weeks is how the creativity, rapid response and a ‘make it happen’ attitude from our members all over the country has helped businesses bring to market new product ranges almost overnight in response to the crisis. Every week we hear more inspiring stories of businesses who are keeping their chins up, their businesses alive and most importantly, jobs in place,” says Erica Elk, CDI Croup CEO.

 

An example of this is Yes We Can, a Cape Town based business that has sewn 10 000 masks, sold over 4 500 and donated over 2 000 to frontline healthcare responders since the beginning of lockdown.

“We have kept fifteen families with an income during lockdown – their only source, in most of the cases. And we are proud to be offering the best value for money masks in Cape Town!” says founder, Mila Moreano.

We are seeing many SMMEs donate masks in their communities, further highlighting that craft and design SMMEs go above and beyond and are deeply embedded in the fabric of communities. For example,
WeAllShareRoots, based in Cape Town, donates one in every ten masks to those in need in Lavender Hill / SeaWinds.

 

Connecting makers to orders

The CDI has also actively played a role in facilitating mask orders from government and bigger organisations over the past few weeks through CDI Connect, the CDI’s subsidiary which was launched in 2016 to help craft and design SMMEs access more procurement channel opportunities. A familiar face to many of our members over the years, Priscilla Leo, is the driving force connecting the market to the makers and since lockdown has been very busy fulfilling thousands of rands worth of orders that have come in.

A beneficiary of such a recent order was Sophy Dzvimbu from Sophy’s Hands, who started making and selling masks to friends and neighbours. Following a friend’s advice, Sophy joined the CDI and has been working steadily to make an income.

“I received an order for masks which I delivered well ahead of the deadline. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to earn an income during this period and I hope to make even more masks,” says Sophy.

CDI joins hands with Western Cape stakeholders for PPE drives

 

Last month we brought you news on how CDI is part of two key COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related initiatives in the Western Cape – one a platform that provides a single place for suppliers to promote their product ranges and for businesses to find what they need; and the other a provincial “Maskathon” which aims to get donations of over one million masks for those in underprivileged communities.

 

The marketplace for PPEs is a single platform that connects corporates looking to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their businesses and their staff, with manufacturers and suppliers thereof. The CDI has been encouraging business members who produce these items to list on the platform. Visit: https://supportbusiness.co.za/marketplace

 

The Maskathon Challenge is an initiative aimed at donating one million masks to those in need. This donation drive helps underprivileged communities while also boosting the economy by stimulating local manufacturing across large and small-scale producers. To date, over 185 500 masks have been pledged. The CDI has made a small contribution to this through donations received.

 

Image above: Pledges made to date

 

Masks on PEEK

Through the CDI’s online search and connect platform which showcases local products, PEEK (www.peek.org.za), SMMEs can create company profiles and upload images of their products, including masks. The platform enables the direct connection of buyers with makers.

 

Image above: Masks on CDI's platform PEEK


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