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Resourcefullness, repurposing of raw materials and protection

Teaching communities, lacking protective gear how to create their homemade ones from raw, kitchen-top sourced materials

Photo of Radostina Petrova
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When last week my coutry went into state of emergence, the protective go-to masks were already out. If I could find them on the black market, their current cost for a box of 100 was about the same as my monthly food supply. I watched many videos online about how to create my own, but what I found the most helpful advice came from an elderly pharmacist, a close friend of my mother. Her idea was based on parchment paper (baking paper) - the most basic, non-waxed one. It is easily cut into a rectangle and subsequently folded, can be taped or pierced with a puncher (so that strings are attached to it). The so made mask is easy to dispose of after the accidental trip outside (to the grocer, to the pharmacy, to the bins), it does not let water drops penetrate to skin and I can breathe thru. With a standard roll of 10m (30f), the supply can last a month for the family at virtually no cost. The best news is that we all have baking paper at home. Kids can draw on it, It bears the application of drops of essential oils (for calming the mind) and is not something that is out of reach for most.  

Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

Prior to further disseminating my mom's friend's knowledge on how to create baking paper masks, we used the surgical masks for as long as a whole day sometimes. It was already dump with moisture from breathing and hardly protective. Now, I can use 20 masks a day, put them on, take them off, without any fear of contamination that is introduced in my house. I treat masks as truly disposable. Of course, if I can manage to get the N95 respirator masks, I will prefer them to my home - made designs, but as these are not available to the general public, the home made designs are better than nothing. 

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • National Government
  • News: Television
  • News: Digital
  • News: Radio
  • Social Media
  • WHO (World Health Organization)
  • NGO or Non-profit Organization
  • Word of Mouth
  • COVID-19 Virtual Summit -

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?

I attended the COVID-19: The State & Future of Pandemics hosted by Singularity University (available at and the summit was phenomenal, but one of the most powerful talks that I have watched was by Nell Watson ( a practical guide to staying healthy during COVID - 19) This is an information that needs to get sooner to those parts of the world, where the epidemic is still not in full blast. 

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

The initial message was COVID-19 is like the flu, affecting the elderly with 3% mortality. There's 8% mortality in Itally. In China, some people recover only to get it again. The vaccines are hard to make with more than 2000 mutations known today ( And worse for me are those anectodal evidences of incubation for as little as 5 days to as long as 32 days. Infecting others for 32 days if the quarantine is only 14 at present is a bad malpractice.

What is your current profession?

Molecular Biologist by training (Genetics, Biophysics).

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?



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Photo of Koldun Victor

Photo of Radostina Petrova

Koldun Victor 
Thanks, Victor!
Great - what type of paper is this, it is not baking paper, because she was able to stretch it? It costs only 100 rubles - is it like kitchen paper?

Photo of Koldun Victor

I don’t know what kind of paper the author of the project has, but I met with cellulose napkins with very, very long fibers. So this long-fiber cellulose can actually stretch like that.

But, "sometimes you have to be easier" ;-)

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