It was The Vine Bangalore that The Vine’s Event Manager Jana Hennig tapped into for what is now called The Bengaluru Mask Project (BMP), which is teaching people how to make a mask with fabric.

Since 2018, The Vine Bangalore has been a go-to site for new and seasoned expats to get tried and tested information on the best the city has to offer. Food and drink, lifestyle, home, style and beauty, health and fitness, and culture – the site covers it all. Shanghai-based founder Lisa Renstroem thinks of The Vine as a community of cool, globally-minded women.

Lisa Renstroem, founder of The Vine

The #MaskMakers have created the 3-Layer Protective Mask, Easy No-Sew Masks, and the Anti-Virus Face Shields. The instructions for these are simple, in 24 languages (10 Indian languages and 14 international), and supporting videos for those who can’t read. Hennig saw a similar project by local hospitals back in her hometown in Germany and realised this was exactly what Bengaluru and other places in India needed, to make a mask with fabric

While of course people can make this for themselves, The Vine’s #MaskMaskers, ranging from housewives to NGOs to textile businesses with different yields, are aiming to get masks on as many faces as possible, free, especially to those who need them most but cannot afford to social distance. “We encourage those who can to sew masks and those who cannot, to donate material or money to those who can,” says Renstroem. “We want them to be able to provide security guards, maids, delivery men, and vendors around their homes for free. Meanwhile, local tailors can provide some work and income to their regular staff as well.”

Though Renstroem cannot know the exact number of masks made by everyone who has seen their instructions, she estimates that well over 15,000 masks have been made, based on their direct contact with tailors, NGOs, and gated communities.

Of all the three options being offered, Renstroem recommends the 3-layer model. “We shifted to recommending this model because it is re-usable, and all the materials could withstand our cleaning instructions (materials like elastic/rubber cannot be washed and re-used). We also wanted to make sure that our people who were sewing were able to share information on how to correctly wear and clean them.”

The Vine has relationships with NGOs and businesses of varying sizes, who are able to produce anywhere from 50-2,000 masks a day. “When we are contacted by companies or individuals looking to donate funds or purchase masks for their staff or for those in need, we directly put them in touch with these trusted #MaskMasters whom we know are using our instructions and not cutting corners (i.e. using lesser quality materials),” says Renstroem.

This initiative was always focused primarily on The Vine’s communities in Bengaluru, but Renstroem is thrilled to receive pictures of their mask models in Europe, the US, and even Brazil. “We love how easy it has been for others to quickly forward our infographics using WhatsApp. We have seen numerous other mask instructions being shared as well, which reference our material, and that is just great.”

Contact The Vine Bangalore on hello@thevineblr.com and on +91 91083 81989 /+91 73383 80671 (WhatsApp Only).

All images: Bengaluru MASK project

Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

Ruth is an independent journalist based in Bangalore. Always in pursuit of the next story that interests her, loves her food and drink, bookworm and a sucker for sunsets and airplane journeys.