School skills help inspirational duo make masks for Moldova


An ORT student and recent graduate in Kishinev, Moldova, have volunteered their time and expertize to help make protective equipment for doctors working with Covid patients.

Nikolai Nezhintsev and Sandu Chirita are assisting with a national project to turn snorkeling masks into protective visors and are using plastic adapters made on 3D printers at the ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum.

Hospitals in the country face the challenge of insufficient quantities of protection equipment, and following an idea first conceived by the Diving Federation of Moldova, members of the public across the country are helping to assemble masks and distribute them.

Nikolai, a 10th grade student, and Sandu, who graduated from the school last year, are using OctoPrint 3D controller applications to produce the adapters needed to turn the snorkeling equipment into hospital-ready protective pieces.

Nikolai explained: “For me, this is a way to be useful and possibly to save someone’s life. It is an opportunity to become a small part of a large mechanism for helping people. We would not be able to do this without the equipment provided by ORT, thanks to which we could not only print the parts, but also do this continuously from home.”

Some of the masks made by the ORT team

Around 20 masks have already been made with the help of the ORT team, and nationally around 300 masks are being used in 14 hospitals.

Sandu, who previously won a prestigious Intel award in the United States, explained that he had returned to Kishinev from his first-year course at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology because of the pandemic, and had seen a Moldovan company announce it was using its resources to adapt the snorkeling masks.

“They mentioned that any help would be useful to them, including 3D printing of parts. I spoke to my school friend, Nikolai, who also found this proposal interesting. We were very happy that during quarantine we could be engaged not only in something interesting, but also important and necessary for someone else,” he said.

“This project has set a new level of print quality and a different sense of responsibility for our work. We have to make the necessary amount of quality adapters in a short period of time. It was a completely new, difficult experience for us. But you realize that many people receive the necessary medical care partly thanks to our work – and this is very inspiring and motivating for us.

“It was thanks to the resources and capabilities of our school that we were able to implement this project. The first school 3D printer we created by ourselves, and the second we received as a prize for winning a hackathon where we presented our other projects.

“It was this experience that helped us to cope with the difficult task that we faced. I’m not sure if there is another school in our country that would give such an experience. I’m grateful to the school, its leaders and our sponsors, who not only provide our school with everything necessary, but also are open to initiatives such as this.”

For 140 years, ORT has been passionate about unleashing the potential of young people so they can lead fulfilling lives and have a positive impact on the world around them – Nikolai and Sandu are the personification of these values and we congratulate them for their inspirational endeavor.