The collaboration, which took place for a month, provided Sunwayians with an opportunity to help keep healthcare providers safe during the pandemic.
Assisting in the project were Sunway students and alumni, who worked voluntarily in a team of seven on two shifts daily at the Sunway iLabs Makerspace on Sunway University campus. Strict SOPs for social distancing, safety and hygiene were in place to reduce risks of viral or bacterial transmission.
Dr Elizabeth Lee, CEO of Sunway Education Group who stopped by to personally thank the volunteers, even tried her hand at sewing a PPE. Though having cited she had not sewn since high school, Dr Lee deftly handled the sewing machine. “This is indeed a good initiative. I am heartened to see Sunwayians coming in to help. And not only ladies but gentlemen as well, who are taking up the call to volunteer their time and effort to help keep our frontliners safe. Even without prior sewing experience, they have learned very fast and I can see they are doing such a good job,” said Dr Lee. “At Sunway, where students are encouraged to volunteer and give back to society, I am happy that many answered the call to volunteer for the project. Out of more than 70 applicants who responded, I have been informed that 33 volunteers have been assigned for the whole month to sew the PPEs,” said Dr Lee.
“As classes are now conducted online, students may feel disconnected from their studies, classmates and the university. The sewing project engages with the students and provides them the opportunity to learn new skills during the Movement Control Order (MCO),” explained YM Datin Raja Riza Shazmin Raja Badrul Shah, Director of Philanthropy of Sunway Education Group, who first mooted the idea.
“We also want them to develop resourceful and positive mindsets, so that they are more resilient physically, mentally and emotionally to face the challenges in the New Norm. Volunteering for causes such as sewing PPEs for frontliners, helps build empathy, which is proven to reduce stress and build character,” emphasised Datin Raja Riza, who is also Vice President II of MERCY Malaysia.
The project has produced 1,105 PPE hoods and 120 PPE gowns within the one-month period, which were handed over to UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute (UMBI) on the 15 of July 2020. Guests who attended the handover of PPEs were Dr Elizabeth Lee; Datin Raja Riza; Associate Professor Dr Shalimar Abdullah, Vice-President III of MERCY Malaysia; Professor Dr Mohammad Iqbal Bin Omar, Head of Health of MERCY Malaysia; as well as Dr Nor Azian Abdul Murad, Director of UMBI. The Sunway University x MERCY Malaysia PPE Sewing Project is supported by the Philanthropy Office of Sunway Education Group, Sunway iLabs and MaybankHeart.