When Cape High textiles teacher Alayna Aiken, who founded a sewing school in Kenya, learned that masks were in short supply, she knew she could meet the need and generate funds for a second sewing school.
“I thought it would take a year to raise funds,” she said. “People asked me to make masks, and within three weeks we raised enough money to buy land for another school and office furniture.”
With that goal reached, Aiken now has set her sights on raising funds to purchase a car to travel between the schools in Turkwel and Siala, places nine hours apart in Kenya.
“People are so generous,” she said. “Many have bought masks and given an additional donation to the school.”
Fitted masks are available with or without wires, pleats or plain. Shoppers can choose from a plethora of patterns, including animal prints, summery florals and African fabrics, for children and adults.
“I miss teaching, and it helps to customize face masks for people,” Aiken said. “I’ll be able to transfer my experience running this as a business and making money to my students. I hope to create an awareness for the importance of sewing.”
Aiken said teachers at both sewing schools in Kenya are also sewing and selling masks for 300 Kenyan shillings, equal to about 30 American cents.
A selection of pre-made and made-to-order masks from $7-$20 is available at kenyagather.org.