#MyMaskMyStory: “I was afraid of my students getting infected”

Northwest  | September 2, 2020

Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.

Translated by Penny Liu
Edited by Dilber Shatursun

“When the pandemic started, our operations [at Friends of Children with Special Needs] had to change. Before, children would come to class every day. Now, only a portion of our children come in. Especially when the outbreak became really serious, we only had 4 or 5 students attend a day. Then we would hold Zoom classes for the students who stayed home. Our teachers would design different activities every day, for art classes, science, life skills, social skills class, and dance and music classes, too.”

“We do our best to keep our programs running, so parents who needed to work could drop off their children here during this difficult time. But, to be honest, I was very scared coming to work. I didn’t have a clear understanding of this virus and how it spreads. Also there were rumors [in the beginning] that masks were not that important. All the misinformation made me very anxious. I was afraid of my students getting infected, because if one student became sick, the whole facility had to close. This is a very cruel reality.”

“Before Tzu Chi volunteers gave us the masks, we did not have any. There was a severe shortage of masks in the marketplace. They were expensive and in short supply, but during the pandemic, Tzu Chi has supported our children and our staff. We must wear a mask everyday in order to do our job.”

“I am really moved by Tzu Chi USA’s donation.  Since the pandemic started, many people panicked. Most people only think about whether they have enough masks or gloves for themselves. Tzu Chi didn’t just donate to us once, but this is even the third time. Tzu Chi USA has really made great contributions and is a great role model for society.”

Yan Luo is the After School Program Manager for Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers comprehensive programming for children and adults with special needs and their families. To date, they have received 3,000 surgical masks, 300 N95 respirators, and 500 cloth masks as donations from Tzu Chi volunteers. Discover the full #MyMaskMyStory collection here, and help us do more to support community organizations like FCSN through our Together While Apart fundraising campaign.

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