In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ordinary people throughout Asia have banded together to ensure doctors and nurses have the personal protective equipment they need to do their jobs.

As demand skyrockets for medical protective equipment, these people are handcrafting face shields and masks for medical staff, with some even creating a haute couture safety response.

In Thailand, a message on the chat app ‘LINE’ soon saw 20 members of the Esso Club – an association of current and former members of ExxonMobil Thailand – making face shields by the thousands.

“I received the message through LINE that a lady called Sansanee had the materials to make these face shields but no one to make them,” Thailand’s Esso Club president, Siriwan Prommool, said.

“I felt that this would be a unique opportunity to be a small part of giving back to society. I quickly called to say that I could help make the face shields and find more volunteers to help.”

Esso Club families quickly raised their hands to pitch in and do their part, proud to help protect their medical community.

Over one week, they handmade 2,000 shields for Thai doctors and nurses to wear to ensure they could remain safe while helping fight COVID-19.

Thai handmade masks for doctors

The masks were donated to hospitals around Bangkok, Thailand.

One family alone – the Singpees – managed to make a quarter of these masks.

“We are so thankful for the hard work and long hours that medical personnel are putting into the effort to heal those affected by the pandemic,” Siriwan said.

“We wanted to do our small part to help the effort and show our deep appreciation.”

These handmade masks have been donated to the Rajavithi Hospital, Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital, Pranangklao Hospital, Wetchakarunrasm Hospital, Samutprakarn Hospital and Bangbo Hospital in Bangkok.

The company is also ensuring that other people are protected, with ExxonMobil Thailand providing 4,000 face masks to delivery drivers through its fuel stations.

In Malaysia, the Official Designers’ Association (MODA), the country’s fashion alliance, has also stepped in to make personal protective equipment for frontline workers, supported in their efforts by donations from ExxonMobil’s Malaysian subsidiaries.

The group has used the talents of more than 40 designers and 200 seamstresses who volunteered to sew protective hospital gowns, boots and head coverings.

“We very much appreciate ExxonMobil and all our other contributors for partnering with us in our cause for the medical frontliners,” MODA president Melinda Looi said.

“Our members are playing a crucial role in this effort as they have the skills to sew. We hope to be able to help protect more frontliners while they perform their duties in keeping us safe at home.”

ExxonMobil’s General Manager – Public and Government Affairs Sukiman Mohamed added, “With our contribution, MODA was able to produce 12,000 sets of medical protective equipment with each set comprising a head covering, boot cover and isolation gown.”

Indonesian woman handmaking masks from fabric

Women in ExxonMobil-supported entrepreneur programs in Indonesia handmade masks for people in East Java.

In Indonesia, women in the entrepreneur program Ibu Inspirasi Tuban in East Java, supported by ExxonMobil, are also handmaking masks. The masks were then bought by ExxonMobil and donated to journalists working in the Bojonegoro, Tuban and Lamogan regions of Indonesia, as well as people in the Gayam sub-district.

Across Southeast Asia, people are playing their part – supported by ExxonMobil – to ensure frontline workers have the protection they need to keep their countries and the region safe.

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