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Traveltech startup Lemi launches online campaign to create awareness about hand hygiene amidst COVID-19

Traveltech startup Lemi launches online campaign to create awareness about hand hygiene amidst COVID-19

Lemi.travel— a travel-tech startup based in Hong Kong has launched an online campaign ‘Lemi Wash My Hands’ driven to help people adopt better hygiene amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Lemi Wash My Hands is a campaign calling for a new hand-washing emoji to be adopted across all social media platforms, globally. 

Lemi logo horizontal

The campaign has been successfully adopted by Twitter, which now displays the emoji, whenever users use the #SafeHands hashtag promoted by the World Health Organization. The emoji has been shared by WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros on Twitter and retweeted multiple times. It has also been shared by UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore and received a positive response across the UN community.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-09 at 15.18.30

Simon Nazer, Communication Specialist, UNICEF East Asia & Pacific shared,”handwashing seems simple but it matters. Handwashing with soap can be the difference between life and death for millions of children across the world. COVID-19 has brought this to the forefront of everyone’s mind but it’s something organisations like UNICEF, CDC and WHO have been promoting for many years.

He added, “If your hands aren’t washed with soap and water, it’s more likely you will get sick. Up to 50% of cases of malnutrition around the world are due to poor hygiene and sanitation, and diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers of children in poorer countries.

That’s why we joined forces with Lemi and the campaign to create a handwashing emoji. We know the power and ubiquity of communication and using it to change behaviours, and the creation of a handwashing emoji could be a game-changer. Since then, we’ve seen Twitter create an emoji and WHO and CDC are also on board in supporting our calls for an emoji.”

Emoji being the world’s most widely spoken language, inspired Lemi to come up with this campaign for all social platforms to adopt and communicate the critical message far and wide. Available on Android and iOS, this emoji campaign is aimed to leverage mobile and internet penetration amongst the remotest areas and communicate the hand hygiene practise.

We spoke with Lemi’s CEO and Founder, Cheryl Ng to discuss Lemi, the travel tech landscape amidst this pandemic, Lemi Wash My Hands campaign and more.

Cheryl Ng, CEO and Founder of Lemi

TVM: Being a travel tech startup, how is Lemi coping with the global lockdown amidst the pandemic?

Ms Cheryl: Lemi has always prioritised getting the best people for the job, regardless of location, and regardless of preferred work hours. That’s why we were built to operate entirely remotely since our inception. We have teams in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manila, Taiwan, and Gothenburg. Setting up a remote structure was challenging – developing a structure of accountability while allowing for flexibility, managing the lengths of calls, making our communications more efficient, even finding ways to retain water-cooler conversations! But we’ve refined it and we’re really proud of the system we have in place now.

The pandemic has challenged the businesses to be more open and creative. I think it’s great for startups that are on a growth path because it opens doors that may have been harder to access in the past. 

TVM: How will the travel and hospitality tech industry change after COVID-19?

Ms Cheryl: Support for small businesses was already a trend before COVID-19; you could see that every day when people would choose small coffee shops instead of the larger franchises when given a choice. Small businesses bring personality and character to an otherwise monotonous cityscape. During COVID-19, people have been willing to open up their wallets to support their favourite small businesses, purchasing credit to use at a later time. Independent businesses give neighbourhoods soul. I believe that post-COVID-19, people will better understand the value of these small businesses and choose to patron them even more. 

TVM: What do you think about technology at the time of coronavirus?

Ms Cheryl: Being able to work remotely, staying in touch with your loved ones, and keeping yourself entertained via streaming services has kept people indoors more. Imagine if this happened and we didn’t have an endless supply of music, movies, tv shows, online shopping, memes, and social media to get through our cabin fever! Technology is a saviour in so many ways. 

TVM: How did the idea of the Lemi Wash My Hands emoji come along?


Ms Cheryl: Creativity is at the core of our team culture. We come up with crazy ideas quite frequently, some are terrible, some are amazing. But it’s all in good fun and generates a lot of laughs.

We were attempting to convey washing our hands via emoji one day and discovered that there is no emoji to represent handwashing. Our CTO said, “We should do an emoji” and so we decided to go for it and make it available for public use! Our contribution to the world so to speak.

TVM: What was your inspiration behind this emoji campaign?

Ms Cheryl: My heart breaks when I see babies suffer, especially as a parent myself. Nearly 30,000 children die each day due to diseases that are totally preventable. Hygiene is a big factor, and handwashing is the most basic and most taken for granted. Educating people on basic hygiene and proper handwashing will literally save thousands of lives. Emoji is a universal language that doesn’t need to be translated to be understood. You see an emoji, and you can understand it regardless of whether you even know how to read. 

So please sign our petition ( www.lemiwashmyhands.org ) to make the handwashing emoji universally implemented across all platforms. Your signature and support will help save lives. You won’t be alone– UNICEF, the WHO, and the CDC are also official supporters of #LemiWashMyHands, but we need the numbers to really make a difference. It’s a small effort but it’ll make a huge impact.


COVID-19 is a pandemic that has brought the entire world to a standstill and there is not much that we can do apart from staying at home and washing our hands properly to help flatten the curve. At The Vent Machine, we have signed the petition and we support this commendable initiative by Lemi. We encourage all our readers to help sign the petition so we can spread the word to create awareness in the battle against this global pandemic.



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