Argentinian makes batik face masks to raise funds during COVID-19, Ramadan


AS the medical face mask is highly in demand amid the spread of COVID-19, batik fabric designer Maureen Clarke has come up with the novel idea of using her self-designed material to make the sought-after item.

The 42-year-old Argentinian has embarked on a charity project where proceeds from the sale of her handmade batik face masks will be channeled towards helping the underprivileged who have been affected by the global pandemic.

Clarke said she created the first batch of 30 face masks using scraps of her batik fabrics, and expects to produce some 100 pieces soon.

“The two-layer cotton face masks comes with a pocket to slot in a filter where people are able to wash and reuse; and in this way, we can reduce wastage and footprint of our resources.

“We are starting to get good response from customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic where many of them are wearing it when going to grocery stores,” she told Bernama.

Clarke was inspired to come up with her own masks following a supply shortage of medical face masks during the first phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which started in Malaysia on March 18.

A former stewardess with Malaysia Airlines, Clarke said she tried making five different prototypes to ensure the face masks allow for breathing without restriction and can be hand washed or laundered without damage or change in shape.

“I am stitching these batik face masks all by myself; and in the future, I wish to work along with local tailors and refugees…to stitch the masks after the MCO is over,” said Clarke, who started to discover the uniqueness of batik when she came to Kuala Lumpur seeking a job in 2005.

Clarke said part of the proceeds from the face masks’ sale have gone to helping families in need during the MCO, where she prepared home-cooked food for some 62 underprivileged Afghan refugee families living in a condominium at Taman Kosas, Ampang, during the first day of ‘buka puasa’.

Each mask is sold at RM50. To purchase, contact Clarke through Instagram or Facebook account under the name ‘Batik’s Secrets’.