This year the Community-based Project Module (JCP) came up against a challenge. The students have to work at least 40 hours in the community to pass the module successfully. With the COVID 19 lockdown students had to find alternative ways to do their community work. A second-year mechanical engineering student, Andrew Nel, made face masks and delivered them to a non-profit organization, Child-line in Mpumalanga. The staff needed masks and some for them which they can use or distribute.
This is what Andrew said when reflecting on his project: “Not only did I did learn how to sew, which I found to be quite fun, but I also got to experience the kindness people can give. The staff at the Childline work hard to better the lives of children they receive at the centre, and this is very admirable.”
Shannon Julius and Candince Moodley realised that many South Africans from disadvantaged communities would struggle to acquire masks when the president called for the compulsory wearing of masks in public.
Shannon and Candice are both second-year mechanical engineering students who became concerned that people in the community were not aware of the essence of the pandemic and were not practicing social distancing or wearing masks. This is what led to these two students to decide on a 'mask' project for their JCP module. The students did not only sew masks but also made soaps and donated them to Khulisa Social Solutions, Life4U foundation, and CFCi Welfare.
We have learned that communities are struggling to adjust their daily lifestyles to fight this pandemic and hope that our project would help to increase awareness of the pandemic and promote safe practices in order to fight the spread of the virus. The process of sewing masks has taught us patience, and it is a process that demands focus and concentration. We were also sad to realise that this pandemic affects the poor and disadvantaged the most.