Showing grit, two elderly volunteers sew masks for those in need
For Madam Amy Lee, 71, and Madam Yen San Ling, 80, personal ailment and injury has not stopped them from helping those in need during the ongoing pandemic.
As volunteers of Masks Sewn With Love, a community initiative organised by the People's Association, they have been sewing masks for vulnerable children, senior citizens, domestic workers, cleaners and residents in shelters here.
The project has collected about 50,000 homemade cloth masks, and over 4,400 volunteers have contributed by sewing, cutting and donating materials for the masks.
It aims to have another 40,000 ready by June.
Madam Lee, a mother of three, has sewn about 300 masks despite being on chemotherapy, which she started in January following a breast cancer relapse last year.
She joined the initiative late last month after seeing her friend post photos of masks she had made for the project on Facebook.
"When I realised my friend was doing it for a good cause, I became interested. I told her I was worried my handiwork wasn't good enough, but I realised that as long as I have the heart to do it, (the masks) will turn out fine," she told The New Paper in Mandarin.
She starts as early as 6am every day and sewing the masks has not just become a daily routine but also a labour of love.
She said: "The chemo is supposed to make me feel weak, but I have found great strength through this initiative.
"It is a time to show love and care for others. Every mask I make is one more person that has a mask. Knowing that makes me happy."
Some 10,000 masks are earmarked for groups such as children and young people in shelters.
Another 30,000 masks will go to vulnerable communities such as the elderly and cleaners, and the last 10,000 to domestic workers.
Madam Yen has sewn about 500 masks while still recovering from a fractured left hand after suffering a fall in February. She registered as a volunteer with the help of her niece.
She has over 60 years of sewing experience under her belt and ran her own seamstress business from home before circuit breaker measures took effect.
Madam Yen, who has been living alone since she was widowed two years ago, said: "I was feeling restless, but this has given me something to focus my energy on."
She is able to sew about 30 masks a day, a feat she is quick to play down.
"It is not much. I am old and I can't go out to help. But I have this skill set, and this is my way of giving back," she said.