Kamensko Association: Donating Masks and Saving Jobs

Lauren Simmonds

As Sasa Paparella/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of April, 2020, the Kamensko Association has been engaged in sewing cotton masks for the Association of the Blind, fire departments, nursing homes and more, and as we reported today, INA has very generously donated 50,000 kuna to them.

The former workers of Kamensko, who founded the association after the demise of the Zagreb textile factory and became been self-employed, have been sewing cotton masks since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which they then mostly donate to needy fellow citizens, and also send some to various clients.

“We’re worried about all those vulnerable groups of people that society has forgotten, because we know very well how it is for them. We can produce 500 masks a day – our girls need the seams as well, as needed, so the masks aren’t really a problem. We also gave some of the masks to the residents of the retirement home who, when it was most difficult for us, bought us a small sewing machine with their own money, so now we’re giving something back to them,” says Đurđa Grozaj, president of the Kamensko Association.

The association is also arranging some bigger jobs, and have sewed 1000 masks for the Rijeka student centre, Metro ordered 3000 pieces from them, and masks are also sewn for pension institutions in Koprivnica and down in Dubrovnik.

There are, however, some new problems, such as postage costs of as much as 79 kuna, which is charged by the Croatian Post for the transportation of three masks. This week alone, the Kamensko Association received an intercontinental order from Croatian expatriates from across the Atlantic in New York.

The Kamensko Association has also been hit by the downturn in the economy due to coronavirus and even tourism problems, as they have now lost the job of sewing linen bags for hotels on Croatian islands.

“You know, we’re working very hard to preserve these five jobs of our seamstresses, to whom we pay salaries. So far, the salaries for the two seamstresses have been compensated every month by Ikea, as they sewed for them.

However, Ikea is now closed, so their fate has become uncertain. The only safe wages for now are the funds coming to us through a project funded over the next three years by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development. I don’t know what to do next, and the hardest thing for me to do would be to have to let someone go.

We also have a single mother working here. We never received the arrears we were promised from Kamensko’s bankruptcy. I think we deserve a chance after everything we’ve all been through. I urge that it be invested in us, and not in imports from China. Give us a chance to work,” said Đurđa Grozaj.

As stated, the Kamensko Association has received a nice donation from INA, which will certainly help patch up some of the financial struggles the association has been dealing with amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling information and updates on coronavirus in Croatia.


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