Covid-19 awareness is being highlighted amongst the differently-abled community of Bahrain through a set of superb personalised face masks created from paintings and artistic drawings and the initiative is attracting international acclaim.
The ingenious activity is being spearheaded by the #Bahrain4All campaign group which is renowned for supporting people with intellectual disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disability (ID), Learning Disability (LD), Down Syndrome (DS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
During a summer camp staged last year, young students engaged in numerous learning activities including painting and craft making. Now, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, these works of art are being turned into face masks.
Nivedita Dhadphale, founder of #Bahrain4All, said: “The students were so creative and produced fantastic paintings and drawings.
"We wanted to turn these works of art into some sort of merchandise to raise funds for the programme, and so when the government announced that wearing face masks was essential during this pandemic, we knew exactly what to do!
“We had 20 students involved, who all created their own artwork, and so far we have 14 different designs. We are planning to convert the other six into masks soon.”
Already more than 1,000 of the special face masks, priced BD2.500, have been snapped up as part of the ‘Customised Masks for a Cause’ initiative.
“To sell so many is a superb milestone for us, but even more impressive is that we’ve sent orders across the globe to places as far as the United Kingdom!” added Nivedita.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and most importantly of all, we’ve shown our students the photographs of people wearing masks with their own designs on them and to see their happiness makes it truly special.”
The masks have been made from breathable felt, sandwiched between two layers of Dri-FIT, a high-performance, microfiber, polyester fabric. The artworks are then scanned into a computer and printed on to the mask material.
Most of Nivedita’s spare time has been devoted towards delivering the masks across Bahrain, from Amwaj Islands to Zallaq, with fellow volunteers Mohammed Usman and Salman Amjad also chipping in to meet the burgeoning demand.
On occasion, Nivedita has also been accompanied by the boys and girls who designed the masks at a safe social distance, wearing their own creations too.
“They’ve also posted pictures and videos on social media offering their advice and showcasing their designs,” she added.
All profits from the sale of the masks will be channelled back for the betterment of the differently-abled community and will go towards staging more events and programmes once the pandemic eases and large gatherings are allowed again.
Nivedita is hoping to stage another summer camp if circumstances allow. Meanwhile, she remains extremely grateful to everyone who has supported Customised Masks for a Cause.
She said: “Firstly, I want to say ‘thank you’ to the students for creating these amazing works of art. I’d also like to thank everyone who has helped along the way, from those who helped collect the material for the masks and print them, to the volunteers who have helped deliver them.
“Of course, on behalf of the entire #Bahrain4All team, I’m also hugely grateful for the kind support from all corners of the world and I’m so proud of our extended family.”
- Those looking to purchase a customised mask can do so by emailing [email protected], visiting #bhr4all on Instagram or Facebook, or by calling 36335000, 66389111 or 39807539.