These days, the increase in Lake Urmia’s water level is not the only good news coming out of the area, the involvement of the local women in producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers to combat COVID-19 is also a very welcoming milestone in the project achievements.
“I have been sewing masks and gowns with love – love for my country and those on the frontline of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Hajar.
She lives in Chopoghlou village, south of Lake Urmia. For the past month, along with 12 other women from her village, they have been involved in producing PPEs. These women are part of the Lake Urmia restoration project under the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project, a joint initiative between Iran’s Department of Environment, Government of Japan and UNDP, and at the heart of this project is the goal of women empowerment. Currently, over 35 women in six villages in the area are involved in this process.
“We started doing this voluntarily. We wanted to have a role in responding to this pandemic. As time went by, since the quality of our work was high, we started receiving orders. It gives me a good feeling to know that I am supporting those in the frontline, while at the same time supporting my own family” she said.
Hajar went on to add that “Some of the women in the group really need the financial support, especially in the current socio-economic context that is affecting many across the globe. So, we are grateful to have jobs and to be supporting those at the forefront of the battle.”
When asked if she has a message which she wishes to share, Hajar said she is grateful to the project for enhancing women’s capacities, and that she never thought that one day their skills will enable them to find new ways to save lives. “We will stand next to and support our healthcare providers for as long as it takes, with love.”