The high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has created a severe shortage locally and around the world for caregivers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, founder of Refugee Artisan Initiative (RAI), heard the call and is responding with a nimble pivot that saves lives and jobs.

“To tackle this unprecedented situation, RAI has teamed up with medical professionals and clinics to design and produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns and other protective gear to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection. The needs of the medical community are changing rapidly and we’re in a good position to adapt our artisan’s skill-sets to serve any specific urgent need that may arise.”

Helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus while providing artisans’ opportunities for work is an ideal use of RAI skills and resources to address the urgent demand for more protective gear. RAI provides artisans with paid sewing projects that can be completed in the safety of their own homes. Artisans are from Vietnam, Ethiopia, China, Burma and Morocco.

RAI is producing hundreds of masks daily. Visit Ming-Ming’s GoFundMe to help this effort.

Link to fundraiser:

For more information on Refugee Artisan Initiative:

As heard on Ron and Don Radio.

EPISODE #83 – We Are Making 1000 Masks for Local Healthcare Workers


Need one or more face-masks for your family? Consider pre-ordering to purchase them from this wonderful artisan initiative, which uses the proceeds to pay the artisans and also making more PPE for healthcare workers. From Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, the founder of the Refugee Artisan Initiative (profiled earlier on bigthanks):”Last Friday, we received many requests from the public if RAI would offer face masks for sale because the CDC now recommends wearing them in public. At the time, we had just finished institutional requests without other urgent needs. We decided to put on adults and kids masks to sell on our website. We were surprised by the sheer number of orders coming in! Due to the high demand, we had to temporarily hold online sales until we could fulfill the current orders. However, we are now accepting preorders to help us gauge how much to produce. If you are interested, please send a message to and indicate the number of kids and/or adults packs you want to purchase ($40 per 5 masks pack). ** Proceeds from all online sales will go toward paying our artisans and making more PPE for healthcare workers. ** ”

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