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Berlin Initiative supports our worldwide corona prevention projects

22. April 2020 - Germany is the name of the spontaneous initiative of a handful young people from Berlin who started sewing cotton masks last week. The design is handmade. The profit is donated to arche noVa.

"We've been online a week now and the rush is huge. We did not expect this. We can hardly keep up," says Louise Grotenhöfer, fashion design student from Berlin, who started the initiative with four friends. On the Easter weekend they had no time for walks or long breakfasts. The three of them finished 300 masks.

Behind the website there is a lot of commitment and the desire to create something "that will help our neighbours, friends and families, as well as those people who do not have the possibility to take security precautions. People who have no home and therefore no protection," explains Louise Grotenhöfer. Besides her, Ana Stamenkova, Flora Sommer, Lobke Beckfeld and Tino Passlack are part of the MASK HAVE team. gets involved across borders

They had noticed that due to the many updates on the Corona crisis in Germany, the news hardly ever reported on the situation of refugees. "We wanted to counteract this and work with an organisation that focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene and stands for refugee aid worldwide," says Ana Stamenkova from Team Maskhave. While searching for cooperation partners, the students came across arche noVa.  The profit of their mask production now flows as donations into our international projects.

"A great idea", says Mathias Anderson, managing director of arche noVa.  "The world now needs solidarity across borders." Just as the protection of endangered people is a priority here in Germany, the protection of the most vulnerable must not be ignored internationally.

Portrait of Mathias Anderson

"Camp Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos is an example of the deplorable state of affairs that prevails in many places around the world where people have to live under the most difficult circumstances and were already poorly equipped before the pandemic."

Managing director Mathias Anderson calls for global solidarity.

Corona activities of arche noVa

The team of arche noVa is working under high pressure to implement necessary measures to cope with the corona danger in our existing project areas. This includes, for example, the distribution of hygiene sets in Idlib, Syria. "However, it is physically impossible for us to open new locations in new project countries, even though we see the enormous demand in many places", Mathias Anderson explains the current strategy.

"We have the great advantage that we are already working in many places where people now need further help. This applies to the internally displaced persons in Iraq as well as to the population in the embattled north of Syria." Both our own teams and the local partner organisations continue to work on all important projects and expand their activities where the Corona regulations permit.

Portrait of Mathias Anderson

"Our focus water, sanitation and hygiene is the basis for slowing down the spread of Covid-19 in each project country. As long as there is no vaccine and no active ingredient for treatment, hand hygiene will remain the most important tool in the fight against the pandemic, alongside social distancing."

Managing director Mathias Anderson emphasizes the urgency of WASH projects in the Corona crisis.

Currently started: Mask production in Myanmar

The effects of corona are only gradually becoming visible. One thing, however, is already clear: those who are most severely affected are those who live in poverty and are under great pressure. But as different as the effects are, the crisis also has something connecting. This applies, for example, to the issue of protective masks. Because they contribute to prevention, our team from Myanmar in Shan State has expanded the project: 75 women will now sew face masks in small businesses as an income-generating measure. This closes the circle with the committed seamstresses in Berlin.