A group of four business students from the University of Regina launched the social enterprise Sask Masks at the height of the pandemic, dually supporting local communities and quelling the spread of Covid-19.

Good News Shared speaks to Robyn Ham, co-founder of Sask Masks. As a member of Enactus Regina, an entrepreneurship club, Robyn was encouraged to come up with a project with a social conscience. 

April 2020 saw Canada’s response to the pandemic off to a rocky start due to the lack of masks. 

In steps, Robyn along with her twin sister, Jana Ham, and friends Jordan Tholl and Ryan Selinger set up Sask Masks. The group makes and sells reusable cloth facemasks and donates the net proceeds to local charities. 

Ham says, “Within the first night, we sold out of all of our masks – that’s when we started building out our team and within the first week we ended up adding 36 seamstresses. Some of these tailors were volunteers and some were laid-off as a result of the pandemic. So they were looking for something to do with their skill set.”

Canadian student-led mask initiative supports communities at the height of the pandemic
Photo: @saskmasks

The net proceeds were donated to three local organizations as Robyn says, “Initially we picked three charities that were close to our heart and were most in need due to the scarcity of resources at the time: Carmichael Outreach, the Regina YWCA and the Regina Food Bank. Thanks to the success of the project, ten more charities were added to their list as Ham shares, “These charities were picked based on the buyer’s preference.” 

To highlight Robyn’s excellent work in giving back to the local community, she is one of 21 recipients to receive the latest Canada’s Volunteer Award, having been nominated by her professor at the University of Regina, Lisa Watson, who was the catalyst behind Sask Masks. Watson offered a $1,500 loan to those who could start a social business during the pandemic to help the community.

To find out more about Sask Masks, click here

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Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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