By Brooke Rogers

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When the world felt like it shut down in March, Jade Nguyen and Tia Hsieh did not.

The current seniors at the Hockaday School in Dallas launched “Sew Masks, Save Doctors” to support two communities close to their hearts.

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“To us, that was the refugee community that we previously worked with and the frontline workers that needed PPE during the pandemic,” said Hsieh.

Thus, they partnered with Vickery Trading Company, a non-profit that trains refugee women, to make masks the hospitals needed. In so doing, they helped employee 15 refugee women and keep the hospital workers safe.

“We were very much in danger of having to close our doors at the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s a completely different story here at the end of 2020,” said Stephanie Giddens, executive director of Vickery Trading Company.

Since they launched in March and started working with Vickery Trading Company, “Sew Masks, Save Doctors” has raised more than $11,000 and donated 3500 masks.

To fundraise, they got creative.

“We collaborated with the Hockaday second-hand store to donate used Hockaday skirts for us to reuse and remodel into masks,” said Nguyen.

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Volunteers sew the masks, and then they’re sold to the community. Nguyen and Hsieh said it’s been a meaningful experience for them, both first generation Americans.

“Part of our work is really spreading those stories and helping dismantle some of those barriers,” said Hsieh.

Not to mention a lesson in running a business at a young age.

“We’ve been really grateful for all of the support we’ve been given from all of the communities we’ve been impacting, the school community, the medical community, and the refugee community,” said Nguyen.

“Sew Masks, Save Doctors” is donating masks to hospitals throughout the Dallas area and out-of-state. The founders have also started a podcast series in which they interview refugees.

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