Published On: Sun, Apr 19th, 2020

SMDF Launches Masks for the Masses Project

SMDF Masks for the Masses

PHILIPSBURG – Recently, international health organizations have called for the use of barrier masks to complement protective hygiene measures and social distancing rules to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In an effort to provide as many barrier masks to St. Maarten residents as possible, the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) has launched their Masks for the Masses project with the help of over 20 local seamstresses and tailors.

Hobbyist and professional seamstresses and tailors offered to assist in producing approximately 1000 adult and child cloth face masks for those most in need of them. The intention is for these masks to be included in the care packages being distributed by the Government of St. Maarten via ESF-7 and various Community Service Organizations.

The barrier masks being constructed for the Masks for the Masses project are intended for use by healthy people not presenting any clinical symptom of viral infection and those not in contact with people presenting flu-like symptoms.

With St. Maarten’s high population density, it is inevitable that persons will be in relatively close proximity to one another, especially in public. Therefore, use of the mask is envisaged for any person leaving their home to go to their place of work at an essential business, or to shop for essential items in authorized establishments.

While medical (or surgical) masks and FFP2 type filtering masks (like N95 respirators) serve as the best protection against infectious viral droplets, due to the local and worldwide shortage of these types of masks, SMDF believes that they should be prioritized for healthcare workers, caregivers, and symptomatic people.

With the long-term goal being to supply masks to as many persons as possible, SMDF will also be introducing a Buy1-Give1 program for the masks. Through this Buy1-Give1 Social Enterprise program, businesses and individuals can purchase a mask for ANG 5 and in turn provide a free mask to another person. This nominal amount will cover the costs of production of the two masks, including materials.

As this project is being led by skilled volunteers, SMDF would like to publicly thank the seamstresses and tailors who offered their assistance in this initiative and to the businesses that donated the appropriate fabric and filtration material for the construction of the masks.

For more information about SMDF and the Masks for the Masses project, please e-mail info@smdf.sx and visit the website www.smdf.sx