Sewing Thread of Hope During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Mrs. Aima with one of her sewing results. Tote bag, order for event activities

A month after the first two positive Covid-19 cases were reported in Indonesia, there has been an exponential increase in the number of confirmed cases. As of 21 April 2020, approximately 7,135 cases are confirmed among 34 provinces and 257 districts/cities. Worldwide, Coronavirus has infected more than 2 million people with 191,000 death cases. As hard as this pandemic wreaks havoc on economic activities nationwide, it hits hard businesses across different sectors in Indonesia including Central Sulawesi.

Aside from the economical stroke, Indonesian health authorities have urged citizens to wear face masks when venturing outside since the virus that has killed more than 600 people in the country. The Health Ministry’s director-general for disease control and prevention, Dr Achmad Yurianto, recommends to use cloth masks instead of medial mask such as surgical masks and N95 masks as these are prioritized for medical workers’ need.

As a prompt response to this alarming situation, JMK Oxfam through the livelihood sector seeks to immediately encourage its small medium enterprises (SMEs) to remain steady in this condition. Seeing Indonesian health authorities mandatory for face masks, Rina, senior officer of livelihood, encourages  Mrs. Aima and her SMEs focusing on sewing products to produce cloth face masks. This strategy is not only strengthening the business economically but also contributing as local response for preventive action.  

“Despite the economy hit, we should encourage the business group (SMEs) to turn situation into optimism and opportunity. By producing cloth face masks in large quantity, it will help their economy. Furthermore, this opportunity will bring excitement to Aima and other mothers despite the corona outbreak.”


Aima (39 years old) herself is a mother of one and works as a tailor. After the earthquake on 28 September 2018 ago in Central Palu, her livelihood as a tailor in Langaleso village was severely affected. Most of her sewing equipment either damaged or lost. Fortunately, one priceless thing remains; her fiery spirits to keep on going. She and other housewives who used to work as fellow tailors in her village started new SMEs and joined the JMK Oxfam on “increasing community sustainable livelihood through local economic empowerment and food security” in recovery project.

Other than clothes and face masks for this current project, Aima and others also produce various bags including tote bag from the gunny sack. Aima and fellow tailors feel that joining JMK Oxfam assistance is beneficial since not only support them in a production but also business development such as marketing and distribution.

“Alhamdulillah, with the help of JMK Oxfam, we keep our sewing business up and running. It also keeps our spirit and optimism. Our product is not limited to clothes, yesterday we have produced handbags made gunny sack. During this pandemic, there is already a demand for production in large scale of cloth face mask “


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