BURBANK, Calif. — The percussive rhythm of a sewing machine has been is a familiar sound in the Enanoria household. Since the start of the pandemic, Rokhsan Enanoria has sewn hundreds and hundreds of masks, but while she may be the one in front of the machine, it’s her daughter Anela who is truly behind the operation.  

While COVID has left many kids to their own devices, the 11-year-old decided to use her time wisely.

“Instead of playing video games and just sitting around, I was thinking I should probably just come up with something that can help people around me,” she said.

What started as a few donated masks has grown into a non-profit called Maskeurade by Anela. It’s a true family affair. Both of her parents were out of work due to COVID. Her mom had just gotten a job offer that never materialized because of the shutdown. Her father, Harold, had two jobs in the hotel industry and was furloughed from both.

“Yeah, we basically had a lot of time on our hands,” Rokhsan said, and Anela put those hands to use.

Rokhsan does the sewing while Harold cuts and inserts the sanitized filters. And of course Anela does her part as well.

“I choose the prints,” she said, “and sometimes I cut them out.”  

Reaching under the table, she pulls out bins of fabric, describing each material in terms of its pattern and texture.

“This is the cherry mask,” she says of one, followed by a pink floral pattern. “This is really cute, too.”

She has some solid colors and some basic black which, Anela points out, matches everything, but that’s not her personal style.

“What I’m looking for usually is something that’s bright,” she said. “I don’t really like sad colors.”

She also uses tiny rubber bands to transforms beaded necklaces into mask chains. Once the mask is sewn, it gets a filter and a nose wire before Anela slips it into a bag with a postcard explaining a little about her company and her vision.

“I love this part because it says, ‘Made with love by a designer and her daughter in beautiful Los Angeles,’” she reads from the bottom of the card.

So far Anela and her family think they’ve donated about 800 handmade masks and sold hundreds more, with all the profits going right back into materials to make the ones they give away. And there are a lot more of those on the horizon. Anela’s next goal is something she’s calling Mission Maskeurade, where she’ll be distributing about 200 masks to the homeless.

“I’ve seen them everywhere basically,” she said, “and they are so close together and I feel like they’re the ones that really need a mask the most in all this.”

After months without work, Anela’s mom recently got a new job, but that doesn’t mean they plan to slow down production. Rokhsan intends to keep right on sewing, nights and weekends mostly. Her hands sometimes hurt, but her heart is full.

“It’s awesome. It’s brought a lot of us together. It’s brought the family together,” she said choking back tears. “She’s so determined in her gift and giving and I think she’s taught her dad and I the lesson of it all. It’s been really good. She’s a good kid.”

Anela also loves that she’s been able to spend more time with her parents these past few months. “We’re all hanging out together,” she said, “and I actually cherish the moments we have more now.”

From the outside, watching her leaf through supplies, it looks like Anela makes masks but she knows what she really makes is a difference.  

“I am actually very proud because I know I am helping a lot of people,” the fifth grader said with a small smile. “I’ve always wanted to help my community.”