SINGAPORE: Volunteers across the country have taken on the mammoth task of producing 50,000 reusable masks to be distributed to their loved ones and those in need, as Singapore begins its month-long "circuit breaker" initiative to break the COVID-19 cycle of transmission.
The Masks Sewn With Love project organised as part of the People's Association Women's Integrated Network Council was first announced on Facebook by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling on Wednesday (Apr 8).
In her post, Ms Sun, who is Member of Parliament for Punggol West, said the initiative was a response to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's speech on Tuesday, in which he called on Singaporeans to meet the challenge of staying at home "purposefully and positively".
"We are aiming to sew 50,000 cloth masks, including masks for children. These can be given to family members and friends, or donated to those in need of them. Delivery to those in need will be worked out to ensure that existing guidelines for safe distancing are met," said Ms Sun.
In her post, Ms Sun also uploaded photos of Punggol residents posing with their cloth masks and posted links to a mask-making tutorial and a sizing guide.
Shortly after Ms Sun's post, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah also wrote about the project on Facebook.
In addition, MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling took to her social media page to talk about the South East District's recruitment of seamstresses who would also be making masks at home.
"The Government is doing what it can. But also believe in the power of individuals! We can help. To this end, we want to make reusable masks for the most vulnerable among us. We also want to help those whose bread and butter may have been affected by the pandemic (and the circuit breaker).
"So we recruited seamstresses in our South East District a couple of days ago ... and received an overwhelming response - thank you for responding! The seamstresses are mainly those you see in wet markets - we have 10 in MacPherson!
"The seamstresses will be able to make full use of their skills at home, while getting an allowance that hopefully can help in alleviating the pressure they face in this trying period," said Ms Tin.
Earlier in March, Ms Sun said that several Punggol residents, who were mothers and grandmothers, had spent their last "few weeks" sewing reusable face masks for children with donated cloth and sewing machines.
This followed a gathering earlier in February at the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) Punggol where people learnt how to sew cloth face masks for children, following parents' feedback that surgical masks did not fit their children's faces.
For more information or queries about the Masks Sewn With Love project, or how to participate, email sun_xueling [at] prpg-grc.sg and sewnwithlove.sg [at] gmail.com.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a new email address for information and queries.