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Daily Earnings of Tailors Drops due to COVID-19

By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
Covid-19 has affected every institution in the world and this has also shown that individual businesses such as tailoring business has been seriously affected as most of the female tailors feared that this trend might continue as covid-19 is still in the country.
According to research conducted by a Journalist for Human Rights (JHR), in partnership with Mai-Media and The Daily News on the impact of Covid-19 on female Tailors did indicated that the daily earnings of Tailors drops down seriously and has forced Tailors to sew reusable face masks.
The world is facing a medical emergency far graver than what the country has experienced in over a century. The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic.
Government’s measures to contain the pandemic was seen as a right violation to other female tailors as their business has been seriously affected and some feel not happy about their future, but their biggest challenge has been how to survive their business, as the materials are still expensive.
Saffie Cham, a female Tailor and a shop owner at Sanchaba Sulay Jobe described the situation as disturbing and critical. She said it was so difficult on them, adding that it has come to a time that she had to ask all her tailors to stay home because they were not working and they were not earning anything.
“The frustration continues to an extent that it will go up to two weeks without even sewing a single cloth” Saffie said
Saffie reiterated that “it was really difficult on me as a female Tailor and I also have people who were working under me. They depend on the business too and even to pay rent was a problem. The money that I save at the Bank, that’s what I was using to sustain myself” she said
She further stressed that at the end she was buying her own clothes to sew it and sell it to people adding that people were not giving them contracts.
“I am afraid my family will starve if coronavirus comes again. Even now, my tailoring business is not the same from the past. People do not bring their clothes to be sewn anymore” Saffie said
Giving an assessment of the situation, Cham said the situation after COVID-19 is even worse because the items are very expensive now while calling on the government to make sure the price of the items are reduced.
Anna Jammeh, a 23 year old tailor at Kunkujang said COVID-19 has seriously affected them considering the fact at the end the shops were closed and business was not going.
Jammeh lamented that covid-19 has disturbed them a lot adding that they have not been working for a long period which she said has really affected us a lot.
‘‘It was really difficult for us as females and we were struggling. We are not earning anything. In the end we were forced to close the shops by the government and this gave us another challenge as female Tailors’’ she said.
Anna Jammeh mentioned that sometimes they will be at the workshop for the whole day without doing any work, “this was another serious problem because many of our customers were not even bringing clothes for us to sew. Anyone you ask for help, they will tell you they don’t have anything because of the lockdown imposed by the government” she stated.
Anna is excited that business is going normal now but she later said no one can predict the future as covid-19 is still in the country. “Thanks to Allah that business is normal even though it is not as before but Alhamdulillah. We cannot predict the future because COVID-19 is still with us” she said.
Oumou Hawa Barry, a young female Tailor at Abuko highlights some of the challenges they face during the pandemic.
She stated that “the business was not going as expected and we close our shops very early because of the health emergency regulations but later the government forced us to close our shops completely because of the State of Public Emergency. This has seriously hindered our work”. She said
Oumou Hawa feared of losing the skills she had and was not happy as the COVID-19 is still in the country, “I was not happy because I was just sitting at home without doing anything and I feared of losing some of the skills I have” she said
Lasana Sawaneh, a shop owner at the Abuko Market and also coaching three female tailors stated that he believe COVID-19 has seriously affected every individual in this country adding that on the side of the tailors the case is really different considering the fact their daily earnings drop down to 10%.
“As of our profession, we earn everyday but during the COVID-19, what we use to earn before covid-19, we are not earning that again because of the Impact of COVID-19” he said
He further stressed female are affected more because many have families to feed adding that he has been training female tailors for long time, ‘‘the pandemic has affected the female tailors that are under my watch’’ he said
The covid-19 had forced the tailors to be sewing reusable face masks. Reports of a huge shortage of masks prompted about a dozen tailors to make non-surgical face masks with cotton cloth material which could be washed and reused.
“well covid-19 has really affected us but we also came with a suggestion to manufacture face masks when one of my friends approached me with a request to stitch a certain number of face masks for a project undertaken by his organization to provide face masks to the public in their area”, he said.
This story was produced with support from Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), through its Mobilizing Media in the Fight Against COVID-19 in partnership with Mai-Media and The Daily News.

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