9-year-old’s homework is sewing PPE gowns to help beat virus

Nur Afia Qistina Zamzuri, 9, with a personal protective equipment (PPE) she made for medical frontliners in a local hospital. (Reuters pic)

SEREMBAN: For a nine-year-old schoolgirl, Covid-19 was hard to fathom.

But Nur Afia Qistina Zamzuri knew one thing for sure: It was dangerous.

So when she heard that a hospital was looking for people to sew protective gear, she immediately volunteered.

“I felt bad, so I told my mom I wanted to help,” Nur Afia told Reuters at her home in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan.

Nur Afia, who learned to sew at the age of five, can make four full personal protective equipment (PPE) gowns a day, parking herself at a sewing machine between playtime and attending online classes while schools are closed amid a nationwide lockdown.

Malaysia has reported more than 6,600 infections, including over 100 deaths.

Since early March, Nur Afia has made 130 gowns for two nearby hospitals.

Sixty more pieces are on the way, though this month has been more challenging as Nur Afia observes the Ramadan fasting month.

Still, fasting has not stopped her, and she often starts sewing after the suhoor pre-dawn meal.

Nur Afia picked up an interest in sewing after watching her mother Hasnah Hud, a tailor, making clothes in her home business.

As Nur Afia’s skills improved, she begin earning her own money stitching together pillowcases and patching up torn clothes for the family’s neighbours and relatives.

Hasnah said her daughter became more motivated after seeing photos of medical workers wearing the gowns she had made.

“She said ‘Mom, I think I have no school work so I want to sew more’,” Hasnah said.

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