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1.3 million reusable cloth masks will be distributed to migrant workers & domestic helpers in S’pore

A total of 1.3 million reusable cloth masks have been donated by a group of donors, non-governmental organisations, and private sector companies to distribute to migrant workers and domestic helpers in Singapore.

Cloth masks produced by Singapore-owned clothing manufacturers
According to Temasek Foundation, about 400,000 migrant workers, who are mostly living in dormitories, and 250,000 domestic helpers, will be receiving the mask kits.

Each mask kit contains two reusable cloth masks and one surgical mask.

The 1.3 million cloth masks all have a filter pocket, while the 650,000 surgical masks can be used as a filter.

The cloth masks were produced by Singapore-owned clothing manufacturers in the last two weeks, such as Bodynits, Spring Knitwear and Teo Garments.

Temasek said individuals and companies have also donated more than S$3 million in cash or kind towards the production of the masks.

Temasek said providing reusable masks to migrant workers will “complement increased efforts in recent weeks by the Singapore government to enhance the safety of migrant workers”.

Masks to be given out on April 20
The masks will be distributed by the Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) from Monday, April 20, onwards.

MWC will inform dormitory operators about collection details, while masks for domestic helpers will be progressively sent to their residential addresses from late May onwards.

Ministers helped pack masks
Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Sim Ann and Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo helped with the packing of the mask kits at SSW Logistics warehouse on Saturday, April 18, as part of the MaskForce initiative.

MaskForce, spearheaded by Sim, is a community-led initiative formed to rally donors and volunteers to help with distributing the masks.

Together with Connecting MWC, Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), the Textiles and Fashion Federation (TaFF), Singapore’s clothing manufacturers, and other partner organisations, MaskForce developed the plan to produce and distribute the masks.

Sim: Migrant workers an “integral part” of Singapore’s workforce
Sim said MaskForce was pushed forward by well-wishers who want to help protect Singapore’s migrant worker community from the virus, adding that “many willing partners” had stepped forward without hesitation to help provide an additional supply of masks that build on the government allocation.

She said migrant workers are “an integral part of the Singapore’s workforce,” and that they “contribute in many ways, from building our infrastructure, providing essential services to taking care of our communities”.

Sim also added that Singapore is committed to ensuring their safety and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, MaskForce is prepared to equip migrant workers with “even more items that are practical and helpful”, Sim said.

They will “keep going” as long as they have public support, she added.

Richard Magnus, Chairman of Temasek Foundation Cares, said while they are “pleased” to do their bit to help, “the thanks must go to Sim Ann and her enthusiastic group of volunteers who made this initiative possible”.

Top image via Temasek Foundation