Former FC President Assisted Medical Team in Nigeria

The FIDM Grad sewed PPE during the pandemic.

FIDM Grad Alimah Kasumu

Alimah Kasumu was President of the FIDM Fashion Club at Abington Senior High School in Pennsylvania. After getting accepted to FIDM as a junior in high school, she received Fashion Club and Nordstrom Ambassadors scholarships to attend college. After earning her first FIDM degree in Apparel Industry Management, she continued her education in the Advanced Study Menswear program. Alimah recently returned from Nigeria where she sewed personal protective equipment for a Covid-related medical mission team. We caught up with her to learn more!

When did you develop an interest in design? I had been sewing since the age of seven and sketching garments since I was little. If not because of the FIDM Fashion Club, I would have not known about the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and would not have gotten accepted into college as a junior in high school. With my Nigerian background, fashion is highly important and that made me express more of my design ideas and creativity.

Describe your experience as a former FIDM Fashion Club President: I was committed to diversity and inclusion as the President of my school’s FIDM Fashion Club. Being the FIDM Fashion Club President, I have learned and improved my leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. With the help of my club Advisor, Vice President, and club members, we were able to host a fashion show which featured clothing and accessories sewn by the Vice President and I. Many students outside of the club developed an interest in participating in the fashion show and it ended up being a success. 

What’s up next for you since graduating? I applied and got accepted into the B.S. program for Business Management. I have been enjoying my new internship as a graphic designer and designing social media posts, flyers, thumbnails, and more. Also, I have been working on the sewing projects that I have wanted to start. Lastly, I have been working on growing my skincare brand, Muji’s Shea Essentials, by filming and sketching social media content, thinking of new collections, and most importantly, posting the job positions available as I am looking forward to adding people to my team.

How did you come to be in Nigeria for two weeks assisting a medical team? One of the sponsors (NayKas Healthcare) of the mission reached out to me asking if I could sew their personal protective equipment for the medical mission. In the past years of the mission, prior to Covid, they had run out of disposable gowns for surgeons, and had no alternative. When I heard that story, I was touched and did not want that to happen again for this year’s mission, especially since we are still in a pandemic. He stated that he wanted 30 medical gowns, 30 medical hats, and 30 face masks. I packed my bags and headed to Nigeria towards the end of July 2021 with some family members.

What were your day-to-day responsibilities and what was this experience like for you? When in Nigeria, I worked with two small clothing manufacturers and showed them my design and sample of the medical gowns, hats, and face masks. A few of my day-to-day responsibilities included cutting gown pattern pieces, adding labels to PPE, delivering PPE to clinics for sterilization, and guiding patients to their designated station. Overall, I enjoyed my time there seeing family members that I don’t often see, making new friends with the volunteers at the medical mission, and experiencing the fun activities I got to do. After experiencing the medical mission and seeing the positive impact I made, I definitely look forward to volunteering again.