Back in March, we started searching the Internet for protective face masks. We were alarmed to discover that no face masks were available, not even to many frontline professionals most at risk of being exposed to the COVID -19 virus. We believed that we could use the limited resources that we had to try to do something about the situation. A few emails later had we sourced and purchased 2,549 square feet of hospital-compliant, fully washable, non-allergenic, antibacterial fabric from a Belgian supplier.
Our team worked round the clock to design and prototype three possible types of face masks. One model was approved for hospital use and was immediately put into production. The mask utilized two layers of the special antibacterial filtration material and was distributed at no cost to first aiders, paramedics, Doctors and nurses initially, and subsequently to children services staff, security forces, care home, charity and religious workers.
As excellent as OW watchmakers and our regular manufacturing partners are, they don’t possess the necessary equipment to fabricate PPE. We, therefore, pulled together a makeshift community of seamstresses, homemakers, and garment adjusters for this task. Within just under two weeks, we had begun shipping face masks to France, Belgium, and Italy.
To date we have manufactured a total of 12,000 masks and, due to the overwhelming continued demand, we helped set up similar operations in France and Belgium. We’ve also partnered with a manufacturer in France to manufacture surgical full-face visors, which have been distributed to emergency personnel. Additionally, we financed the purchase of a consignment of analog quartz watches for the use by the medical staff of a New York field hospital. And, as a small gesture, for the duration of the crisis, we had been donating 100 CHF for each watch that we sell to the Italian Protezione Civile. We are lucky to be free of the burden of bureaucracy that slows down larger organizations, and we wanted to fully embrace the collaborative values on which Ollech &Wajs was founded.
If you want to know more about our initiative and would like to implement a similar model in your own region, or if you would like support for an existing COVID-19 related project, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.