Inspiring Pinoys

In Pasig, This Fashion Designer Sews Masks For Health Workers

Metro Manila

Gari Sy Rivera
Gari Sy Rivera | Mar 30, 2020

Ang importante ay madami ang natulungan ko and ng mga donors ko.

Pasig based Filipino stylist and fashion designer Simoun Andres initiated a personal project on 16 March 2020: sewing masks from scratch and distributing these along with lacking medical supplies, such as alcohol, to health workers and hospitals free of charge. Looking back at the time he started, he recalls the pause in his field due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“As a stylist and designer, super depressing 'tong sitwasyon na 'to, wala kaming clients and most cancelled events,” he relates, “Iniisip ko kaysa madepress ako, ganito na lang gawin ko, kahit papaano nakakatulong ako sa bayan.” (As a stylist and designer, this situation is super depressing as we lose clients and most cancelled events. Instead of getting depressed, I decided to do this to at least help our countrymen.)

His compassion for others encouraged him to get this initiative going, particularly for health workers who need as much support as they can be given. “I have clients na nurse and doctors na super hirap sa supplies, baka magkasakit," he adds, "Ang importante, madami ang natulungan ko and ng mga donors ko.” (I have clients that are nurses and doctors who are lacking supplies, they might get sick too. What’s important is my donors and I help a lot of people.)

[related: In Iloilo, A Mother & Son Tandem Gears Community For COVID-19!]

Simoun gets help from his family and friends in sewing and distributing. They have reached and distributed more than 300 pcs. of masks from scratch and nearly 1,500 packs of alcohol today. “Water-resistant yung material niya, manipis, pero ‘di napapasukan ng tubig,” he says describing the masks, “Lalagyan lang nila ng tissue ‘yan sa loob then pwede na.” (The material of the masks are thin, but water-resistant. Just put tissue underneath it and you’re good to go.)

As of today, they have allocated the masks and alcohol packs to health workers and hospitals such as Sta. Ana Medical Center and Rizal Medical Center.

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With a heart for volunteerism throughout the years, Simoun shares that he rarely shared about past initiatives on social media and focused on the act of love itself rather than recognition. Only doing so recently, to selflessly ask for help in pursuing this project. “Mahilig ako mag volunteer sa mga ganito kaso di ako nag uupload, pero this time kasi wala ako ganong kalaking pera to sustain this small project,” he expresses, “Kakailanganin ko talaga ng konting tulong kaya I posted.” ("I've always volunteered for things such as this but I don't upload stuff about them, but I don't have that much to sustatin this small project now. I really need some help, that's why I posted about it.")

Sharing about his efforts online helped him sustain the initiative, in buying materials for masks and alcohol packs for donation. “So far, may mga tumutulong na mga dati kong clients and mga friends,” he shares, also adding that doing so gives reassurance of the project’s progress, “Kahit papano alam ng mga nagdonate, alam nila na ang dino-donate nila napupunta talaga sa mga tao na dapat puntahan.” ("So far, some of my clients and friends have helped. In a way, those who donate know that their donations fo to those who need it..")

Currently, he hopes to further this project’s reach and start distributing food to those who need help as well in local communities. “Next project ko is mamigay ng food, like rice, bread, canned goods, etc.,” he says, “ang food kasi pag inabot mo sa mga tao, kahit pagod sila or may problema, ngingiti sila diba?” (Giving food like rice, bread, canned goods, etc. is my next project. People smile when they receive food. Even when tired or troubled, they smile, right?)

[related: Here's How the Mindanao Youth Aid in the Battle Against COVID-19!]

To inspire others to do the same, freely and selflessly is what Simoun aims to do as well in doing this voluntary project. “Nakita ko kasi ung iba binebenta ang mask, nakakalungkot,” he relates, “yung basyo nga lang ng alcohol na lalagyan na mabibili ng P1.50, ngayon P10 na ang isa, sa Divisoria na ‘yun ha.” (I saw some who choose to sell masks, it’s sad. Bottles for alcohol used to cost P1.50, now it’s P10 each, and that’s already from Divisoria.)

During troubled times, Simoun expresses that this is when the nation should be helping hand-in-hand as one, not asking for anything in return,  to practice bayanihan. “Sa panahon na ‘to, kailangan tulungan para mawala na ang virus,” he adsds, “Kung lahat magbebenta, magtataas ng presyo ng basic needs like alcohol and mask, kahit anong laban natin, talo tayo.” (We need to help each other during this time, to get rid of the virus. If we all sell and increase the prices of basic needs like alcohol and mask, we would lose no matter how much we fight.)

[related: Here's How Filipinos Banded Together for a Safer, Healthier Future!]

Still, this stylist-designer proves that hope is alive in Filipinos who choose to be generous and compassionate to the nation. “Give what you can give, share what you can share,“ he encourages, “If your heart is open to giving and sharing, God will be the one to repay whatever help you give.”

ALSO READ: This One-Legged Baguio Delivery Driver Proves That All Are Able

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