Coronavirus: Ground efforts see 1.3 million masks donated, over $850k raised for migrant workers

Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann (right) and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo packing mask kits at SSW Logistics warehouse on April 18, 2020. PHOTO: TEMASEK FOUNDATION

SINGAPORE - Firms, charities and donors have come together to donate 1.3 million reusable cloth masks to Singapore's migrant workers under a community initiative called MaskForce.

The masks, which have a filter pocket, also come with 650,000 surgical masks that can be inserted as filters.

In a statement on Sunday (April 19), Temasek Foundation, one of the effort's organisers, said contributions from 21 donors and sponsors helped in getting the masks.

The masks will be distributed to 400,000 workers living mostly in dormitories and 250,000 domestic helpers here.

Cases at foreign worker dormitories have continued to spike in recent days, making up more than 4,100 - or nearly 70 per cent - of Singapore's total number of Covid-19 infections.

The Government has since made it mandatory to wear masks when not at home.

Senior Minister of State for Community and Youth Sim Ann, who led the MaskForce initiative, said partners stepped forward to help "without any hesitation".

"MaskForce is now prepared to look beyond masks to equip migrant workers with even more items that are practical and helpful," she said.

She added that the initiative, which also involves the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC), Centre for Domestic Employees, and the Textiles and Fashion Federation, will be kept going as long as there is public support.

Most of the reusable masks were produced by local garment manufacturers, with other Singapore firms contributing fabric and sewing machines.

Separately, ground initiatives to call for donations to help workers housed at dormitories have seen over $850,000 raised in the last week.

As of 1pm on Sunday, an initiative started by local social media personality Preeti Nair has raised more than $304,000 for migrant groups Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and HealthServe, far surpassing its original goal of $100,000.

At the same time, #Homeforall Migrants, which brings together several groups including TWC2, MWC, A Good Space, among others, has raised more than $555,300 from about 5,600 donors.

Those who wish to donate to these efforts can click the links if you want to donate to Ms Preeti's or the #Homeforall Migrants efforts.

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