Refugee children at Cedar Learning Centre, Bangkok, try on the up-cycled linen masks.
Shangri-La Group has up-cycled 12,500kg of hotel linen into half a million reusable face masks for charities across southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.
Linens for Life Face Masks (L4LFM) is a partnership between Shangri-La Group and Diversey, a global hygiene solutions provider.
The linen was donated by 21 Shangri-La hotels and is being repurposed into reusable fabric masks by local non-governmental organisations in Colombo, Hambantota, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Surabaya, Jakarta, Cebu, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok and Yangon. The half-a-million masks are to be distributed to local communities in need, providing basic protection against Covid-19.
In some cities the project has also generated employment benefits. For example, in Bangkok Diversey has teamed up with Cedar Learning Centre where local community members will up-cycle clean, used bed sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases into face masks and distribute them to refugees and asylum seekers in the city.
In Penang, volunteers at WHY Loving Care will distribute masks to vulnerable children in local schools and orphanages and in Johor Bahru, with the help of Kechara Soup Kitchen, disadvantaged women will sew face masks for an additional source of income.
The project is also helping to reduce environmental wastage; the manufacture of this many masks from scratch would have required 60 million litres of water and incurred a carbon footprint of 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
“The Linens for Life Face Masks programme provides clear health, social and environmental benefits for communities during these challenging times,” said Chan Kong Leong, regional chief executive officer for Shangri-La Group Southeast Asia & Australasia. “Not only does it give our used hotel linen a new lease of life, it also provides the most vulnerable with a basic piece of protection and helps sustain livelihoods.”