Immigrant women make protective masks for those on pandemic front lines

There are several fronts in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19 and for roughly 50 women from around the globe, theirs is a sewing machine.

"We are so thankful for this opportunity where we can serve our community," said Cynthia Khan.

Women from West Africa, The Middle East, India and Latin America are making masks by the dozens in Clinton Township -providing the much needed piece of personal protection gear to first responders and families in need.

"Because of the shortage, we came up with the idea of making masks of cotton, pure cotton, but we also put a filter. We are using two kinds of different filters which is antibacterial and it’s breathable and it’s absorbent," said Khan.

Cynthia Khan is the founder and director of Refuge for Nations - a non-profit that provides support and employment opportunities for immigrant and refugee women that now call metro Detroit home, making clothes, bags and now protective masks.

"There are people who want to buy it from us or they just want to donate it to us so we can give it to those who are in need," she said. "These can be medical staff or they could be people who are in need - elderly or those who cannot pay."

Their efforts weave into a larger tapestry of goodwill. From neighborhood groups delivering groceries to the elderly, churches providing masks gloves and sanitizing wipes to grocery store workers, to restaurants providing food to medical professionals, and first responders and so much more.

"All of us at Refuge for Nations we love our country and we want to be a part of community support and community help at this time especially this difficult time. and we pray for god to heal our land and restore it back.

If you want to support the work refuge for nations is doing, go to