Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took over in the spring, Ford shifted from producing vehicles to making life-saving PPE in its plants. Though vehicle production resumed shortly thereafter, the automaker is still cranking out everything from face masks to ventilators to help slow the spread of the virus. Their latest such effort comes to us from Brazil, where Ford Fund has hired seamstresses to make face masks that can then be donated to the local communities of São Bernardo do Campo and São Paulo.
So far, in conjunction with the humanitarian organization Aldeias Infantis SOS Brasil, Ford Fund has distributed 9,000 fabric masks as part of the Costura Solidária project, which expects to ultimately donate 20,000 units.
The Costura Solidária project addresses aspects of health and social responsibility, creating a chain of solidarity to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the most vulnerable population. Women from communities in Bahia and São Paulo, who already work as seamstresses, were hired to produce the masks at home, remunerated at a value above the market.
Aldeias Infantis SOS Brasil distributed the cut fabric and other materials for production, also managing the removal and delivery of the finished product to assistance entities that assist children, the elderly, and communities in vulnerable situations.
“In a delicate and challenging moment like the one we are experiencing, with the Costura Solidária project we were able to contribute so much to the generation of income for the families that were somehow economically harmed by the pandemic, as well as with the protection of people, ensuring access to masks that are a fundamental item to reduce the risks of exposure to the virus,” said Roberta Mädke, Ford Corporate Communication and Social Responsibility manager.
The items are made by women from the North of São Paulo, from the Bolivian immigrant community, and also from Bahia who have already participated in the Axé Project, also promoted by the Ford Motor Company Fund in previous years, and Cesa (Art Education Center of the Santo Antônio Educational Center) with the production of costumes for the institution’s theater performances.
“The pandemic affects the most vulnerable and this project has enabled us to serve a significant number of people who are exposed to the risks. In addition to donating the masks, this contact with the communities also allows us to make the population aware of their importance and correct use, as many are unaware of this information,” said Mateus Nogueira Ramos, social educator responsible for the project at Aldeias Infantis SOS Brasil.
The project also included the participation of Ford volunteer employees with sewing skills, who had access to kits with fabric, thread, elastic, and instructions for the production of 10 masks at home, expanding the total donated to the institutions even further.