[SGAID] Life-saving Masks for Vulnerable Rohingya to Fight C

[SGAID] Life-saving Masks for Vulnerable Rohingya to Fight C

From Evelyn Q. Perez

Who are these Rohingya? Why should we help them? The Rohingya are a mostly-Muslim minority ethnic group living in Rakhine state in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Since August 25, 2017, more than 700,000 of them have fle

Support this campaign

Subscribe to follow campaign updates!

More Info

This is the Solidarity +880 Relief Fund.

The coronavirus has arrived in the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where a million Rohingya live in crowded and unsanitary conditions. They do not have enough masks to protect themselves.

You can help them.

Although the Rohinyga refugees have limited access to healthcare, and safe social distancing is almost impossible, with your help, homegrown NGO Relief Singapore will step in to distribute reusable cloth masks to 355,000 Rohingya who do not have masks. These include 200,000 children, 120,000 youths and 35,000 elderly. This is only possible with your help. This is the Solidarity +880 Relief Fund.

COVID-19 arrives in Rohingya refugee camps.

As the coronavirus hits the world indiscriminately, some are more affected than others. On 14 May 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: theguardian.com/world/2020/may/14/first-coronavirus-case-rohingya-refugee-camps-bangladesh.

Typically, 8 to 10 persons live together. Social distancing is almost impossible.

As of 15 July, there are 5 deaths and 57 cases among the Rohingya refugees, according to the WHO. This calls for international concern because these camps are some of the most densely populated spaces in the world. On average, as many as 60,000 to 90,000 people inhabit each square kilometer of land in the camps.A Rohingya household could have 8 to 10 persons living together. These dense and squalid conditions, where social distancing is almost impossible, are ideal for the rapid and devastating spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Who are these Rohingya? Why should we help them?

The Rohingya are a mostly-Muslim minority ethnic group living in Rakhine state in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Since August 25, 2017, more than 700,000 of them have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result of ethnic conflict. Right now, there are about one million Rohingya living in the 34 refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.As refugees, they do not receive the same protection and aid from the state as citizens do. They are therefore heavily dependent on humanitarian aid for basic essentials such as food, water, soap and medical supplies.In May 2018, RSG organised its first of twelve missions to the Rohingya camps. Thus far, we have installed water filtration systems in primary health centres, deployed medical personnel in field hospitals, and implemented psychosocial support programmes for adolescent Rohingya girls.

If we intervene early, we can help reduce community spread.

RSG is committed to long-term humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya. Now that the pandemic has reached their homes, we desire to intervene early to help the Rohinyga fight COVID-19 and reduce community spread.

Why the urgent need for masks?

As COVID-19 spreads primarily from person-to-person via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, both WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advocated the use of face masks in public settings where social distancing is difficult to achieve.Hence, universal masking is key. It can act as source control and break the chain of community transmission. Mask distribution to these camps is therefore one of the most basic and urgent humanitarian interventions needed right now.

Universal masking is key to reducing community spread, yet many Rohingya children, youths and elderly do not have masks.

In response to this urgent need, RSG is collaborating with the UN’s Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to address a critical humanitarian gap: 355,000 Rohingya children, youths and elderly who do not have masks.

What kind of mask are we sending?

RSG has engaged a supplier in Dhaka, Bangladesh to produce 3-ply 100% cotton reusable cloth face masks. The ISCG has approved the mask design which is a minimum of 3-ply that is in accordance to WHO guidelines.While these masks do not offer medical grade protection required for healthcare workers, it is for general community use and is a vital public health measure to reduce spread in resource-limited settings.

The reusable cloth mask is a vital public health measure to reduce spread in resource-limited settings.

Each mask costs 28 cents to produce. As recommended by ISCG, each refugee should be provided with two masks. Hence, 710,000 masks in total will be procured and delivered to the warehouses of UNHCR and IOM in Cox’s Bazar.

How much is needed? Are we there yet?

We are sending the masks in two batches: the first batch of 338,000 masks will be for the 16 camps that UNHCR manages, while the second batch of 372,000 masks is for the 18 camps that IOM manages.

Help us reach $100,000 by 27 July.

Thanks to the generous giving that donors have provided thus far, we were able to raise enough to kick off the production of the first batch of masks. However, we still have much ground to cover. We need to raise more funds to fulfil this first batch, as well as to kick off the production for the second batch. Help us reach $100,000 by 20 July, and the full fundraising target by the end of July

Together we can help our neighbours.

While Rohingya refugees may be a few thousand miles away from Singapore, the camps could become a new COVID-19 epicentre if we don’t intervene early. If there is anything we have learnt from this pandemic, it is that we are more connected than we think. In our interconnected world, a virus will not be contained within geographic boundaries. This is an urgent public health crisis in the world’s largest refugee camps. Let’s send aid from Singapore, with love.

Record of Offline Donations

$390 / 5 Jul / Anonymous donor$3000 / 6 Jul / Geylang Church of Christ$1000 / 13 Jul / Tan Le Peng$1000 / 15 Jul / Kimen Pte Ltd$1000 / 20 Jul / Glory Presbyterian Church$1000 / 23 Jul / Anonymous donor

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Relief Singapore? Is it a charitable organisation?

Relief Singapore (RSG) is a social enterprise and non-governmental organisation (NGO), registered as a Limited Liability Partnership in Singapore to conduct charitable and other supporting activities aimed at humanitarian work. Since 2014, we have provided healthcare, clean water and other forms of humanitarian assistance to those who have been forcibly displaced and affected by conflicts, calamities and climate change. RSG’s mission is to focus on humanitarian needs for the underserved and neglected. We have responded to various emergencies including Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, Nepal earthquake, Indonesia haze crisis, and the Rohingya crisis. Here are some of our past media coverage:bbc.com/news/world-asia-34440946theedgesingapore.com/options/man-missionyoutu.be/1pUT5SjGK0AFor more details about RSG, please visit www.relief.sg

Does RSG have any religious or political affiliations?

No, RSG does not have affiliations with any religious or political entities.

What is SGAID? Is it a new entity?

Singaporean Aid for International Disasters (SGAID) was created by RSG as a platform for Singapore-based NGOs and funders to unite to address catastrophic humanitarian crises in the region and beyond.It is an informal multi-sector alliance of like-minded entities and individuals who work together to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the spirit of compassion and collaboration, guided by the humanitarian imperative to prevent and alleviate human suffering as a result of disaster or conflict.SGAID projects such as the ongoing Solidarity Relief Fund (SRF) campaigns are open for all Singapore residents to support and contribute to. SRF campaigns are launched in response to humanitarian gaps in ASEAN countries and beyond. The first such campaign – Solidarity +62 Relief Fund – was launched on 29th April 2020 to raise funds in support of medical personnel fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in remote health facilities in Indonesia.

Can RSG be trusted to conduct fundraising campaigns for others? Will donations be funneled to the right areas? What will happen to excess funds?

As a verified organisation on the GIVE.asia crowdfunding platform (see rsg.give.asia), RSG is committed to giving accurate information to donors, keeping proper records of donations received, and using funds raised for their intended purposes.Any excess funds at the end of the Solidarity +880 Relief Fund campaign will be used to either extend the support for masks (e.g. replacement masks) or support the wider COVID-19 response strategy in Cox’s Bazar (e.g. WHO and Health Sector’s procurement of surgical masks prioritised for Rohingya under home-based care and frontliners working at screening stations).

Are contributions tax-deductible donations?

As RSG is a social enterprise, not a charity, contributions are not eligible for tax deduction.

Campaign Wall

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

Help Evelyn raise $5,000 by making a donation.