Coronavirus: rural women start action and sew mouthguards themselves

Bettina Knauf from Idensen, a district of the city of Wunstorf in Lower Saxony, wants to help in the face of the Corona crisis. She was quarantined for suspected corona. Until last Friday, when she tested negative for the virus. She learned that people were asked to sew face masks themselves. The idea excited her – so much that she started her own campaign, "We help the helpers". Free, self-sewn face masks are offered in the online shop. Sewing instructions are also available to those interested. Only the postage has to be taken over. Of the star spoke to Bettina Knauf about her campaign.

The need for face masks is high

Ms. Knauf, how did you come up with the idea of ​​starting the campaign?

I found out about the call for help from the German General Practitioners' Association via the Whatsapp group of young rural women in Schaumburg. This is where the idea arose to set up a local collection point for self-sewn masks. I immediately called our local mayor, Rolf Herrmann. He was immediately enthusiastic about the idea. Rolf and a friend, Mareike Dworok, have jointly set up a contactless collection point for material and a drop-off point for the masks sewn from it at the church in Idensen. In the meantime, our mayor has set up a central reception and delivery point in his garage, it was too tight at the church. Additional positions are marked on the website.

How did you make others aware of the campaign?

I sent a call to all Whatsapp groups and founded the "Sewing for a good cause" group myself. Everyone gets help and information here. After the whole thing started up, I contacted the deputy chairman of the Lower Saxony Land Women’s Association (NLV), Heike Schnepel. At the same time, the NLV called on its members to take a similar action, so my action was enthusiastically received.

How are you organized and how many people take part in the campaign?

In the meantime, thousands of Lower Saxony rural women and non-rural women are sewing. The Muslim women's organization "Lajna Imaillah" also joined us as a matter of course. I sincerely thank every single helper. They also just want to help.

We organize ourselves via the online shop, Facebook, Whatsapp, and the NLV. The General Medical Association of Lower Saxony has the address of the shop, so that we can help as many as possible without red tape. Everyone can order the masks free of charge against postage. None of this would have been possible without the commitment of Mr. Dorra from Versacommerce. He helped us, and many others, to quickly open an online shop in this time of crisis.

What materials are used for the masks?

Boil-proof, i.e. washable at least 60 degrees, fabrics, rubber band, wire and bias tape.

How can other people take part in your campaign?

The organization "Lajna Imaillah" takes over the concept throughout Germany, it is already being sewn diligently everywhere. If you can't or don't want to sew, you can donate leftovers.

How many masks have you sewn and shipped?

We have already shipped around 800 masks. In addition, many are distributed locally in institutions that need it. Midwives, care facilities, old people's homes, medical practices, veterinarians, outpatient care, police, fire brigade, etc.

What do you wish for your campaign?

That everyone imitates them, that everyone gets help and that we can help together in a very unbureaucratic way.

If you know of other examples of solidarity in times of the corona virus crisis, please send us an email with a short description of the project, including location and contact person, to [email protected]

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