A Stitch in Time Saves Lives
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At the beginning of April Aynur Aghabalayeva - an IOM grantee from Khachmaz, Northern Azerbaijan, became a minor celebrity after local TV broadcasted the news about her initiative to produce non-surgical masks for local people.
Since the novel coronavirus outbreak started in Azerbaijan, Aynur and her employees have produced thousands of cloth masks which they provide free of charge to local citizens . She is aware that these masks are not standard WHO medical masks (N95) and there is not 100 per cent protection from this virus, but still they are in line with the general recommendation to cover mouth and nose with available scarfs or masks, when going outside.
“In this exceptional crisis situation people should contribute in every possible way to the collective effort to fight against this pandemic," she says.
Many other tailors around the country, encouraged by this news, joined this initiative.
By the end of last month Azerbaijan quickly mobilized their production facilities to produce WHO-approved masks but at the initial stage this initiative helped combat the shortage .
Aynur is a beneficiary of IOM's “Community Resilience to Vulnerabilities” project implemented with funds from USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. One of the key activities undertaken by IOM under the CRV project is supporting access to livelihoods and income-generating activities in regions of Azerbaijan highly prone to migration.
She attended a three-day business training conducted by IOM, where she learnt how to develop small business plans. Following the training, she submitted her business plan and thanks to the grant she had received, she got professional sewing machines for a new tailor shop she opened in Khachmaz district.
On 24 October 2019, Mrs. Aynur along with other beneficiaries of UN projects, shared their success stories with some 250 participants from the government, diplomatic community, civil society, academia and mass media in a special event commemorating the UN Day .