Afghan students attending Turkish universities are contributing to Turkey’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Students, who found themselves idle when the country shut down universities amid the outbreak decided to make protective face masks as a line of defense against the coronavirus for free. So far, they have produced 1.5 million masks.
Mask production is currently limited to the northern province of Trabzon where they study. The Afghan Hazaras Culture and Solidarity Association based in the province, which is home to a sizeable migrant population, initially came up with the idea. When the nonprofit organization stepped up to help the fight against the pandemic, students volunteered. At a workshop originally used by a learning center in the province, they sew masks every day and personally deliver them to places in need, particularly hospitals.
The association’s president, Muhammet Gül, told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) Friday that students have been very forthcoming in helping them. “Apart from sewing masks, they deliver hygiene kits both to migrants and Turkish citizens here. They delivered food aid to people quarantined at home because of the virus. Now, they deliver blankets, beds and other materials for needy families,” he said.
The workshop run by the association also produces olive oil soaps for hygiene and delivers them for free. “We wouldn’t do it without the support of our student brothers from Afghanistan. We are grateful to them,” he said.
Along with Afghan students, Pakistani students in the city are helping the association in the production of masks and other works. M. Nabi Yusufi, a Pakistani youth who is studying electrical engineering at Karadeniz Technical University (KTÜ) in Trabzon, said he wanted to help refugees and migrants in Trabzon and later began producing masks, as well. “We focus on masks and hygiene products. In addition, we try to help migrants here, serving as translators,” he said.
When the outbreak made its foray into Turkey in March 2020, the nation mobilized for protection against the virus. Masks are vital for preventing infections. Since then, vocational high schools, military factories, nonprofit organizations and volunteers have produced millions of protective masks for health care staff and people in need across the country.
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