The Eve Branson Foundation's COVID-19 response

Making of face masks
Image from The Eve Branson Foundation
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
22 April 2020

The Eve Branson Foundation (EBF) works to enrich the lives of people in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

The Foundation runs three craft centres in the region – Tansghart Craft Centre, Tansghart Woodwork Centre and Tamgounssi Weaving Workshop – each encourages the production and sale of artisan goods, and generates a small income for young people and their families. 

In response to COVID-19 restrictions, EBF and its craft centre makers have started producing face masks to support the local community.

The teachers and participants at Tamgounssi and Tansghart have been working night and day over the past week to produce masks. It is now mandatory in Morocco to wear masks in public spaces, but it is increasingly difficult to obtain them from shops and pharmacies – EBF’s aim is to produce a further 5,000 masks to supply the wider population in the valley. 

The majority of EBF artisans and trainees are working from home, with supplies delivered by their teachers, though they have partially re-opened two of the centres (in adherence to lockdown regulations) so that a handful of participants can use the sewing machines.

Image from The Eve Branson Foundation
Image from The Eve Branson Foundation

To make the masks, EBF are using available resources such as stocks of materials purchased at the beginning of the year. By continuing employment and production (albeit restricted) EBF are able to financially support local families through this crisis. 

Image from The Eve Branson Foundation
Image from The Eve Branson Foundation

With support from Virgin Unite, EBF is also working with local village associations to help provide relief, including food, hygiene products and an emergency fund for the most vulnerable families living in rural High Atlas Mountain communities.

With tourism and agriculture the two main sources of employment in the region, and with most community members living day-to-day, there are no savings available to bulk purchase necessities during lock-down. Food items are also becoming less secure, forcing the most vulnerable into hunger and poverty – livelihoods risk being permanently lost and health and education systems are straining.

If you’re able to help, please donate today – your support will provide a lifeline for future recovery.

The Eve Branson Foundation is based in Morocco, spearheaded by Richard Branson's mum, Eve Branson – their mission is to provide young people with valuable skills-training through dedicated craft centres and to preserve traditional Berber crafts, enriching the lives of local families from Atlas Mountain communities.