Reem Bastaki

Reem Bastaki, Ohio State alumna

Reem Bastaki, Ohio State alumna and engineer at the National Petroleum Company, began creating ear savers for medical workers in Kuwait after seeing similar devices being made abroad.

Bastaki was an international student, who completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State’s College of Engineering in 2012.

Bastaki began crocheting and knitting her own versions of ear savers and distributing them free of cost to those in need of them.

“I started the initiative of crocheting ear savers for front liners on April 27,” said Bastaki. “From the third day of announcing the voluntary work through my Instagram page, the request for orders exceeded 450, and it was hard for me to do it all alone—so I asked for help from crochet community in Kuwait and the respond was beyond my expectations.”

The team grew each week and now consists of 138 volunteers not only from Kuwait but also from Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

With the help of her sister Farah Bastaki and Muneera Burashed, a periodontist at Kuwait’s Amiri Hospital, both who are also Ohio State alumni, they have distributed approximately 17,277 ear savers.

She found that the ear savers, beyond providing comfort, are especially useful to those who wear hijabs.

As for safety, she has been following Kuwait’s Ministry of Health instructions—wearing a face mask and gloves when producing them and taking into consideration physical distancing during pick-ups.

Read more about the initiative.