By: AC Recio
Teachers and students from the Design and Technology (DT) Department at Jerudong International School (JIS) in Brunei have created child-friendly face shields to help support the increasing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the country.
What inspired the DT Department to kickstart their effort was news from across the globe about design teachers in the United Kingdom who created and donated PPEs to local medical staff. “It sparked a conversation, and before long, many of the teachers had designed our basic versions of the face shield,” said a DT teacher from JIS.
In order to design easy-to-assemble reusable face shields, DT faculty members consulted with Dr. Helena Hurairah, a JIS parent, COVID-19 frontliner and pediatric ophthalmologist at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Seleha (RIPAS) Hospital. Dr. Hurairah offered to collaborate with the team and bring their face shield prototypes to the hospital for testing.
With the cooperation of JIS Principal Nicholas Sheehan, volunteers used the school’s resources, materials and machines to create face shields and experiment with different materials. On their fifth prototype, the team finalized the design using polypropylene sheets for the straps, PVC sheeting for the visor, and cable ties and rubber bands to hold the parts together. The DT Department focused on simplifying the design, using readily accessible materials and making the face shields easy to assemble and take apart for cleaning. They also used primary colors and added playful flourishes like ears and wings to make the design more child-friendly.
After creating and donating more than 150 face shields to RIPAS and the National Isolation Centre in Tutong, the DT faculty also shared their design with teachers all over the world hoping to inspire others to help their local communities.
Dr. Hurairah, who worked with the DT Department in designing and testing the face shields, was selected to receive the Commonwealth Points of Light, awarded by the Queen of England as Head of the Commonwealth, for her efforts in the project.
“To witness a community coming together in the midst of a global tragedy has been humbling as it has put our compassion and resilience to the test,” shared Dr. Hurairah. “I am extremely optimistic that when the pandemic subsides, a more compassionate ‘new normal’ society will emerge because the crisis has highlighted how uniquely close-knit our community is.”
Due to their sustainable and easy-to-assemble nature, the child-friendly face shields designed by Dr. Hurairah and the JIS DT Department has been reproduced in several countries to aid frontliners in the battle against COVID-19.
SEA Wave magazine’s #SEAtizens initiative is a series of inspiring stories of people in Southeast Asia who champion the human spirit by demonstrating courage, ingenuity, generosity, and selflessness amidst the current crisis.