Members of a public association, which comprises people suffering from various types of cancer, produce medical masks in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, March 19, 2020.
Members of a public association, which comprises people suffering from various types of cancer, produce medical masks in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, March 19, 2020.

A group of cancer patients in Kyrgyzstan is working to meet the demand for protective surgical masks while earning funds to help pay for their treatments.

The group is organized by an association known as “Together for Life,” established in July 2019. Originally, the group made handbags and purses as a kind of therapy, as well as financial aid for women overcoming cancer.

But once the demand for masks increased, the president of the group, Aigul Kydyrmysheva, told The Associated Press that they received permission from the Ministry of Health to switch to making the protective gear.

Kydyrmysheva said they market their products through social media and that while bigger factories can produce masks faster, many customers have turned to them, understanding that their profits go to a good cause.  

The group works nearly round-the-clock, making as many as 1,000 masks a day, which earns them about $2,500 a month. In turn, they have been able to allocate about $770 a month to offset cancer treatment drugs.

 

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