Inspired by a conversation with a hearing impaired friend who couldn’t see the movement of other people’s mouths through her mask, sisters Hannah Dastgheib ’22 and Izzy Dastgheib ’23 founded the non-profit organization Read My Lips Masks this past spring. Their reusable masks consist of a plastic, see-through window surrounded by cloth.
“One day my whole family was sitting at the table and my parents were looking through their mail. There was a little clear window on the envelope, and [it] was my inspiration for the design,” said Izzy Dastgheib.
To fund the material costs, the Dastgheibs started a GoFundMe page which raised over $12,000, surpassing their original $4,500 goal. The overwhelming support for their product also allowed the organization to provide job opportunities for the mask production.
“We connected with some seamstresses in our area and they were out of work because they [used to] make quinceañera and wedding dresses… It was really nice to see social media work putting on profits as the money goes directly to the seamstresses for material and the time they spend making the masks for us,” said Hannah Dastgheib.
The masks have been distributed to members of the sisters’ community in Newport Beach, California, and even to hospitals across the globe. Read My Lips also partnered with the Newport Beach-based company Planet Beauty, who provided lip gloss to accompany the clear masks.
“I think the biggest gratifying moment was just getting people’s responses to it and hearing their stories, and some people were in tears about it because they were treated bad [before]… we’re just going to keep going until we can help our community,” said Hannah Dastgheib.
Moving forward, the sisters hope that Read My Lips Masks will continue to bring joy and support those that are hearing imparied, and that people’s smiles will never be hidden by their masks.
“We want to say how our masks are for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and their allies or the people around them… We just want to keep spreading smiles to as many people as we can,” said Hannah Dastgheib.
Editor’s Note: Hannah Dastgheib is an Associate Graphic Design Editor for The Phillipian.