Change-makers: Providing PPE for the Frontline
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic may have stopped NCS Grad Kazki from finishing his final year of college, but it hasn’t stopped him from working hard. Together with a group of college mates and teachers, he’s been making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for his local NHS.
The project began quite simply. “We started off by producing a few hundred PPE visors in April for our local hospital,” said Kazki. But pretty soon after that, word spread “and all sorts of places like pharmacies, GP practices, care homes and even a prison started to request our visors!”
Kazki and his team of workers quickly set up a gofundme page to raise some money to buy the correct supplies needed for making the visors. Maintaining the government regulated two metre distancing rule, the team set up a production line, where “the teachers used the machines to cut the plastic and we helped with the visor assembly. Some days I attached the ties that go around the wearer’s head or the plastic strips to the front of the visors.”
And why do they do it? Well, for Kazki, the answer is simple: “This is such a difficult time for everyone, it felt good to be doing something proactive… I wanted to do something to help the NHS and it felt great to contribute to my community again.”
But that doesn’t mean the job came without challenges. And Kazki had to quickly put some team management skills into place. He found looking after volunteers, empowering but also difficult, as “it was a bit of a never ending task, moving resources from one room to another in order to keep production going, as well as re-allocating the jobs of volunteers if we needed to rebalance them slightly.” However any stresses quickly left the room as team spirit grew and more and more visors were assembled.
A shortage of PPE equipment during the coronavirus pandemic is why they wanted to do this project, said Kazki. Because “it’s important to the workers because it allows them to operate in a safer environment… but it’s also important for the people who rely on the frontline staff. Patients in hospitals will benefit from hospital staff who are better equipped to treat them and help them recover.”
Kazki and his team made their final visor on April 24th, but have since teamed up with their local fire services, who will continue to assemble visors using the pre-cut plastic pieces that they had left over.
“Helping in a special way like this during a national emergency is something I will not forget,” said Kazki. And neither will anyone else! The project ended up making an incredible 26,000 visors that went out to essential workers in Kazki’s community.
And as for next steps? Kazki hopes “that everyone does whatever they can to help our country get through this coronavirus pandemic, even if it is just simply staying at home. It is important for everyone to work together so our country can get through this.”
WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU ARE?
With government guidelines in place it may seem difficult to take on social action right now. But there are loads of research projects you can do from your sofa, or plenty of ways to help each other from a distance.
And if you’ve already taken part in a social action project that you’re proud of, let us know! Tell us all about it here.