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A crafter’s love for animals helps shelter from mask sales

Making the most out of the pandemic: K. Inus tells story of a Crafter’s love for animals saw contributions to shelter from mask sales

KOTA KINABALU: They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

 And that is what crafter Frida Sarto decided to do when Covid-19 pandemic hits.

 Usually designing and selling her own pieces like plushies (soft toys), bags and felt illustrations, the 39-year-old started making reusable face masks and selling them.     

The lass who operated under her brand Kakamot, went a step further by contributing 50 percent of her mask sales proceeds to Sabah-based animal rescue organisation and shelter for cats and dogs, Animals Lovers Independent Rescuer (Alir). 

But contributing to the charity organisation was not something new for her, as the animal lover has started at a smaller scale since 2017, where 10 percent of her products’ sales at a stationary gift shop downtown were channeled to Alir.

I realised that with each mask I make, it is one less person walking around without a mask.

Frida Sarto


  “When the pandemic hit, I started making the cloth fabric masks as for me personally getting surgical masks was not an option since the prices have skyrocketed back then.

 “I was initially hesitant to sell the cloth face masks because I did not want to make money off a pandemic, but some people were also not wearing masks due to unavailability at the time – so I realised that with each mask I make, it is one less person walking around without a mask.

 “My livelihood was at stake too – there was no art markets or shops allowed to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO),” Frida told K.Inus.

Crafter Frida Sarto who turns to cloth face masks during the Movement Control Order as another means of livelihood, where she also donated 50 percent of the mask sales proceeds to an animal rescue organisation and shelter.  Pic by Frida Sarto

There are more pet dumpings during MCO and animal shelters are crowded,too.

She then noticed an increase of pet dumpings during MCO, which she said might also be due to misleading information then that pets can transmit Covid-19.

 “This has overwhelmed the local animal shelters – overcrowded with new rescued animals and lack of funds.

 “Animal shelters also lacked finances during MCO as they mainly depended on public donations … But many people lost jobs, businesses have closed down, which had caused financial strains that had also affected the animal shelter funding in general.

“Because of all these, I came up with this idea to be able to help myself, fulfill the demand of masks for the public and at the same time, channel funding to the local animal shelter from the purchases of the masks,” she explained, adding that she started sometime after the MCO was introduced.

300 masks were sold, RM1,038.50 donated to Alir.

Frida was grateful to see every time she made new batches, they were sold within days and to date, she have produced and sold close to 300 masks and donated RM1,038.50 to Alir.

“My family and I have had countless stray cats rescued, raised, treated, adopted and many we had give away to potential forever homes.

“Seeing the potential of collecting funds for charity from the selling of the cloth face masks was a new experience for me, and I enjoyed being able to spread the message to the public on the challenges faced by the animal shelters, especially during MCO.

“I plan to continue doing this for a long time, and educate the public so we can understand and control the over population of strays, lower cases of animal abuse, and promote kindness and empathy towards animals,” said Frida, who is also donating half of the proceeds from an artwork sold during a recent community art exhibition to selected animal shelters in Kota Kinabalu.

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