We are #InthisTogether

Thursday, May 21, 2020
A batch of a Foremon donated filament motivated Gracanica Youth Center to continue with their work
Gracanica Youth Center

Volunteers and entrepreneurs are joining forces throughout Kosovo to fight COVID-19.  As citizen initiatives are complementing the actions of the government, local businesses and organizations are extending their cooperation across ethnic lines.  When a local non-profit in the Serb-majority municipality of Gracanica ran out of filament during the production of face shields, a Kosovo Albanian-run company Formon was the first to step in with a donation. 

Like many entrepreneurs and innovators around Kosovo, Gracanica Innovation Center is supplying local hospitals and family medical centers with personal protective equipment.  The center has already produced over 250 face shields on their 3D-printer and donated them to medical institutions in Gracanica, Gjilan, and Strpce serving mostly Kosovo-Serb communities.  After their first deliveries to Gracanica and Gjilan hospital, the center ran out of filament and sent requests to all the local IT companies and the municipality of Gracanica.  

The first donation to arrive came from Formon and was unexpected.  Milan from Gracanica Innovation Center explains, “We were pleasantly surprised.  We realized that we actually had support and were not alone in this.  With Formon’s gesture, we got even more motivation to work.”  The donation from Formon ensured that Gracanica Innovation Center could continue with printing face shields until additional supplies arrived. 

A beneficiary of USAID’s support themselves, Formon, a 3D-printing company, recognized the importance of lending a helping hand and assisted Gracanica Innovation Center with the necessary filament until more supplies could arrive.  Two kilograms of filament might not seem like much, but this gesture of support was crucial at the time; and comes as a global pandemic is changing the course of lives worldwide. 

In addition to supporting the effort of others, Formon employees have been hard at work themselves, finding additional ways to assist Kosovo’s medical workers in the fight against COVID-19.  Formon has developed a ventilator prototype with parts that can be 3D-printed and assembled with other easy to find items.  After five days of testing and over 10 prototypes, Formon has shared the VentCore model on open source software, so that anyone with a 3D-printer can assist with printing and assembling the prototype.  Formon makes it clear that VentCore is only for emergencies when proper medical devices are unavailable, and always under the supervision of a trained medical professional.

This story is just one of many examples where people have extended a helping hand to neighbors and friends, both at home and across borders and ethnic divisions.  A virus does not recognize borders nor socio-cultural divisions, and neither should the fight against it.  Kosovo citizens are showing the world that they are #InthisTogether!

Last updated: May 22, 2020

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