Masks For All SG, a ground-up advocacy movement will have 500,000 masks to be distributed through an educational outreach initiative with the goal of making masks accessible to all. Through this programme, Masks For All SG aims to promote the culture of mask-wearing, primarily reaching out to vulnerable groups across Singapore to advise on the proper use of face masks during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The volunteer group believes that as Singaporeans, there is a duty of care owed to the vulnerable and the ones are largely not integrated into the community – isolated seniors and migrant workers living outside dormitories. The initiative will prioritise these high-risk groups and provide direct support in the coming weeks.
They’ve banded together with Prudential Singapore, Vlight, Lalamove, Majurity Trust, MCCY, Ismaili CIVIC and SingHealth’s Emergency Medicine Academic Clinical Programme (EM ACP) to make this possible. Masks provided are currently crowdsourced from various community groups such as Masks Sewn With Love, Contribute.sg and TeamCareMask.
Ms Von Leong, Co-Founder of Masks For All SG shared, “We are committed to complementing the government’s efforts alongside our partners in the public, private and community sectors. We aim to look at the gaps in care amongst those who may not know how to access or use masks properly. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with prolonged social distancing measures, it has become harder to educate the public on taking care of certain groups who may slip through the system. ”
The founders of Masks For All SG came together in early May for their first social media campaign targeted at migrant workers living outside dormitories. The campaign featured language-specific advertisements in Bengali and successfully delivered care packages of both surgical and reusable masks to over 2000 migrant workers.
Since then, Masks For All SG has also reached out to vulnerable communities including ex-offenders, rental block residents, isolated seniors, students with special needs, adults with disabilities and charitable organisations such as AWWA Ltd, SUN-DAC and Kreta Ayer Seniors Activity Centre.
Migrant workers and members of the public who want to support vulnerable seniors can request for the complimentary masks online through the Masks For All SG Facebook page or Contribute.sg. Upon eligibility, registrants will be able to receive the masks via contactless pick-up points with the help of supporting partners, Lalamove and National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA).
People who are interested in donating masks or hand sanitizer/disinfectant can do so via the same website.
The advocacy effort was kickstarted in March by Melissa Kwee (CEO of The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre), Yeo Lay Hwee (Director of The European Union Centre), Von Leong (Impact Investment Director at AhaVa Capital), Associate Prof. Evelyn Wong (Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, SGH) and June Tham (Social Service Fellow, Ministry of Social and Family Development) in their personal capacities. Their primary concern was about asymptomatic infection and they advocated the use of masks for every person before it was regulated.
With Masks For All SG, they want to encourage people to continue using masks when they are unwell as part of their personal hygiene practices, even after the pandemic period.