We caught up with colleagues who are making a difference in their communities as a response to COVID-19. In this series, we learn how each of them is stepping up and what they’ve learned in the process.

It is an inescapable reality that no one is exempt from the impact of COVID-19, including Chile. We checked in with Catalina Dewulf, a recruiting coordinator at Bechtel, to learn more about her efforts to help.

While many procedures are regulated by government, citizens are stepping up to help where needed. Catalina Dewulf talks to us about how she found a way to help with the support of her family.

Catalina’s sister—a doctor at Santiago’s Hospital de Til Til—told her that the hospital’s front-line workers were lacking basic hygiene supplies to treat COVID-19 patients.

Catalina, her mother, and grandmother joined together to make hand-made face masks not only for the hospital’s health care providers, but also for children’s homes, and the elderly. The family also donated face shields and bottles of hand sanitizer.

Feeling inspired, Catalina’s neighbors joined in supplying fabric for their efforts. She estimates they will make 600 total masks between the three of them once finished.

Listen to Catalina’s story.

Podcast transcript 

Interviewer: Welcome back to our series celebrating colleagues making a difference in their communities. Joining us today is Catalina Dewulf Roman, let's go ahead and get started.

Catalina you've led an initiative to help the Til Til hospital in Chile's Metropolitan region. Where did the inspiration to do this come from?

Catalina: Well, with my family we were able to see where my sister works as a doctor, they don't have the minimum protection to attend to the people with coronavirus. And in addition to the fact that the people who are attended to in the hospital also do not have the resources to buy masks or protection against the coronavirus.

So, we decided to start making masks for the people in the hospital, for the doctors. But then, the people in our community heard about it, our help, and started donating things to me to make more masks for example. We also want to help the oldest people from Til Til since they don’t have masks for their daily life. But now, we are helping children’s homes as they also don’t have the resources to buy masks.

Interviewer: Wow, so it sounds like a lot of different groups are benefitting from your mask donations. Is anybody helping you with the effort?

Catalina: My mother and my grandmother are helping me to make all the masks. For example, we have some neighbors who make the masks and give us to donate to the hospital or from these children's home because they don't have the contact but my sister works there in the hospital so we can have this connection with the hospital.

Interviewer: What would you say has been the response from the hospital with the donations you’ve made?

Catalina: My sister is very happy because the old people have more resources against the coronavirus and they are very happy because nobody knows Til Til because it’s a little town near Santiago. And this is a good donation for there because they don’t have a lot of donations from the country for the state. So, they have to try to do their best work with the resources that they have.

Interviewer: How many hours exactly have gone into this effort would you say? Because it seems like this is an ongoing thing that you're continuing to do, is that correct?

Catalina: Yeah, for the moment we have made 100 masks for the hospital and 100 masks for the people - the population of risk from Til Til. Now we hope to make 50 masks for the children's home, but we expect to finish 600 masks and counting the ones that we have delivered and the one’s we have to finish. But I think at the end of the week we have 10 hours.

Interviewer: Catalina, do you feel there’s anything you might’ve learned from all of this?

Catalina: It has helped me to think about the common good, not just seeing that my family and my friends are OK. Because if we don't start thinking like a community the coronavirus won't stop. This is a very simple and easy initiative, so I would like to invite everyone to find out what is going on in their community – look for donations or way to help the medical staff or population at risk. We will only get out of the disease by helping each other.

Interviewer: Well Catalina, I thank you for finding a way to make a difference and of course sharing your story with us today. Be safe.

Catalina: Thank you to you.

Learn how Bechtel colleagues Alberta and the 'PCAPP seamsters' are making a difference.