Tavisha Kochhar, a Grade 9 student at Sullivan Heights Secondary, has made hundreds of cloth masks in recent months, selling them to raise funds for Lower Mainland hospitals and vaccine research.
Tavisha, according to the Surrey school district, started sewing the masks about two months. She sells them through her website, tavishahelpinghands.com, and then ships the masks throughout Canada and the U.S.
So far, she has made roughly 600 masks, raising $2,700 for Surrey Memorial Hospital, BC Children’s Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital.
“I’ve always been fundraising,” said Tavisha, 14. “I kept on donating, making things, selling what I made and I would use the funds collected to donate to different charities and organizations.
With the pandemic, Tavisha said she decided to make affordable masks because she saw online “that many people were selling masks for unreasonable prices and it was just so unfair to the people who don’t have jobs anymore and lost family members.”
Tavisha took a textiles course in Grade 8, learning how to sew.
In 2017, she started Tavisha’s Helping Hands to help people suffering from the B.C. wildfires. According to her website, she raised $850 by selling artwork, making pencil holders, key chains, paper weights and magnets using recycled materials.
“The environment is a really big issue,” she said. “If we’re able to make reusable masks that you could wash and keep clean for longer, it’s just so much better for the environment.”
Through her website, people can buy masks off all different designs, ranging in price from $5 to $7, plus shipping.
Over the years, she has donated $5,000 to several charities.