15 July 2020

‘Maybank presents “Gift of Love” face masks to ASEAN

As part of Maybank’s continued efforts to help in the fight against COVID-19, Maybank Foundation, the corporate responsibility arm of the Maybank Group, presented a consignment of hand woven protective masks to the ASEAN Secretariat bearing a message of goodwill and a show of solidarity that transcends borders.

The consignment consisting of 150 face masks were presented to H.E. Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN for distribution to the 10 Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, the Ambassador Representatives of ASEAN Dialogue Partners, the ASEAN Secretariat and the two Malaysian Missions in Jakarta.  In addition, a specially framed plaque consisting of 10 masks symbolising the hopes and prayers of the women weavers for all 10 ASEAN member countries were also handed over to Dato’ Lim to commemorate the special occasion.

The handover was coordinated and witnessed by H.E. Ambassador Kamsiah Kamaruddin, Malaysian Permanent Representative to ASEAN and Ibu Ita Budhi, Member of the Board of Commissioners of Maybank Indonesia and Board of Trustees of Maybank Foundation, in a small ceremony held at the ASEAN Secretariat building in Jakarta. This symbolic gesture is meant to further strengthen cooperation between Maybank and ASEAN. In a show of solidarity, the delivery of the consignment from Phnom Penh to Jakarta was facilitated by Maybank Cambodia and the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh.

“It is heartening to see a regional organisation like Maybank, through its corporate responsibility arm Maybank Foundation, coming together with its beneficiaries across the ASEAN member nations to further help other communities. On behalf of the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to ASEAN, I am proud to share the labour of love of the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers participants from Cambodia,” said H.E. Ambassador Kamsiah Kamaruddin, Malaysian Permanent Representative to ASEAN.

Since the start of the outbreak, the mask handover is one of several initiatives under Maybank Foundation to help alleviate the strain on communities greatly impacted by the coronavirus. The masks, which are made out of pure cotton and silk, were handwoven by some 250 skilled women weavers in Takeo Province, Cambodia under the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme in collaboration with programme partner, Color Silk.

The Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme is one of Maybank Foundation’s flagship programmes, designed to promote traditional textiles in a sustainable manner, whilst creating economic independence and financial inclusion for women weavers across the ASEAN region.

The initiative saw a plan to produce some 111,111 hand woven face masks since earlier this year in support of easing the pressure on the demand for surgical masks which are primarily reserved for medical professionals and health care workers as well as to counter price gouging within the region. It also provides great supplementary economic opportunities for the weavers.

“Amidst the difficult times we are all going through, it is encouraging to see our weavers going the extra mile, doing their part to contain the spread of the virus by producing these handcrafted face masks,” said Shahril Azuar Jimin, CEO of Maybank Foundation.

The three-ply handwoven cotton masks can be cleaned, reused and cost a minimum of USD0.65 while the silk woven masks are priced at USD1.50 per piece. The masks come in both plain and a striped pattern known as Kroma which is unique to the Cambodian silk-weaving heritage.

 “It is also inspiring to see the positive impact of our investments in collective solutions for the communities we serve. Given the Foundation’s mandate of investing in sustainable programmes regionally for long-term tangible benefits, we are happy that this programme is directly contributing to fighting the biggest threat the world is facing right now,” added Shahril.

Maybank Foundation’s programme are focused on six key pillars which are Education, Community Empowerment, Healthy Living, Arts & Culture and Environmental Diversity. The community empowerment programme is currently running in four ASEAN countries, namely Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos.

The eight training centres in these four countries have trained a total of over 600 women weavers and have also benefited its surrounding communities including more than 500 farmers of mulberry trees. To date, the programme has positively impacted over 2,500 individuals across the value chain, in line with Maybank’s mission of humanising financial services.