The devices, designed by fashion designer Sbk, are destined for young people with hearing impairments and are part of the more than 8,700 masks distributed in the Country thanks to the Pasped programme. Behind the mask, a smile. This is what shines through from the shots of photographer Badara Preira, who documented the distribution of inclusive protective masks in the school for hearing-impaired children of the Samba Diery Diallo barracks, in Dakar.
Inclusion, an essential leitmotif for the Italian Cooperation in Senegal, was also at the centre in this bitter pandemic period. 3,600 inclusive masks produced and distributed in six schools, among which two specialized centres for children and young people with hearing impairments. This result was possible thanks to the Pasped programme.
To produce these masks, the internationally renowned Senegalese designer Selly Raby Kane used local fabrics in the typical patchwork style, her distinctive feature. The inclusive model allows children to lip-read and not feel excluded even when sign language is not used or is not known. A mask that keeps people close, despite everything.
The model, suggested and strongly desired by the headquarters of Dakar of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics), enabled a broad reflection on the issue of inclusion. Selly Raby Kane, in a video created by the same organization on the theme of partnership, stated: “Producing an inclusive mask model allowed us to realize the effort we made towards the people who came - and come - to our space and whether this space is really suitable and open to everyone. This made us reflect on how to include the maximum number of people in everything, in the image, in the accessibility and also in the way of looking at fashion”.
Besides her, three other local brands have been involved in the production of protective masks, this time in wax fabric: Rama Diaw, Gis Gis and Naidi. Thanks to their work and that of Selly Raby Kane, 8,700 protective masks have been distributed in different schools and local companies. A result possible thanks to the synergy between the private and the education sectors, a theme strongly supported in Senegal by Team Europe and the Italian Cooperation in particular. Pasped has promptly responded to the emergencies of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only through the production and distribution of protective masks but also by supporting 136 companies and thus allowing more than 4,300 jobs to be safeguarded.
These actions are part of a reorientation of the cooperation initiatives currently underway in Senegal in order to support local government in the fight against the pandemic, in cooperation with bilateral and multilateral partners with a view to harmonizing interventions at various levels and across multiple sectors. Suffice it to mention the supply of medical devices to for the regional health facilities of Kaolack and Sedhiou in the treatment of the infected and the protection of medical personnel. A donation possible thanks to the use of funds already destined for Senegal in the context of the historical partnership with the Country. A targeted action that is the result of close collaboration with the two Medical Regions and that has made it possible to identify urgent needs in a timely manner. The signing of two cooperation protocols has defined the donation in detail and highlighted the commitment and work of these regions.
It should be recalled that the Kaolack and Sédhiou regions represent two priority intervention areas for Aics in the context of bilateral cooperation programmes: Pais (Italy-Senegal Agricultural Programme), Papsen (Support Programme to the National Agricultural Investment Plan in Senegal) and Padess (Support Programme for Senegal's Economic and Social Development). A response that once again demonstrates Italy's ability to intervene and support and which is part of an intense and continuous dialogue with the Senegalese government, confirmed by the consolidation of strong ties in all areas of cooperation, in particular cooperation for development.