Shinnyo-en in Singapore supports national movement to sew masks for migrant workers at higher risk of COVID-19 infection

July 15, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic moved across Singapore, clusters of COVID-19 infections sweeping through multiple dormitories for foreign workers were making headlines. Tens of thousands of migrant workers were at a much greater risk of infection. This discrepancy is due to living and working conditions, as well as the workers having little access to masks during the quarantine.

Local tailor, CYC Made to Measure, put out a call to fellow Singaporeans: the challenge was to get as many citizens as possible to sew 300 masks in 10 days with a goal of 300,000 reusable masks distributed to migrant workers living in the dormitories.

Guided by the teachings of Her Holiness Shinso Ito to empathize with those who are suffering and to do what you can in the here and now, Shinnyo-en Singapore immediately mobilized and began sewing.  All the while, making necessary arrangements in the face of emergency stay-home policies and other social distancing measures.

A bilingual web page was immediately created with relevant information, sewing guidelines and sign-up forms.  Interest in the project grew as word spread though the Shinnyo-en Singapore community, and encouraged all those who can sew to volunteer.

The response was overwhelming.  Across the island practitioners recruited friends and family members to sew masks, far exceeding the original targets. While it is not easy for one person to make 300 masks in 10 days, combining the strength of all the volunteers made it possible for each to play a unique part - no matter how small - in this meaningful project.

A practitioner shared her joy, “My sister-in-law is happy she gets to participate. She had earlier checked on the CYC website and felt dejected at (the idea of) having to sew 300 masks.”

Shinnyo-en Singapore members started sewing soon after April 25th when Her Holiness had her birthday and finished before May 9th, the anniversary of Tomoji Ito’s birth.

Chanting ‘Namu Shinnyo’ amidst acts of compassion for the foreign workers who faced higher risk of infection, everyone was able to meditate on Master Tomoji’s teaching about the sharing of merit with others and shine with joy in Mahayana altruistic acts.


Link to news report on this project:

How local tailor CYC united the nation to sew 300,000 masks for migrant workers