Though they can’t beat the popularity of toilet paper at the moment, face masks are a hot commodity due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
As a result, many countries are facing a shortage of this much-needed item.
It’s gotten so bad that Taiwan placed a ban on the export of masks that may last till May.
According to MS News, they have even implemented a rationing system for the masks, limiting citizens’ usage to three masks a week.
But even with these measures, Taiwan needs all the help it can get.
And fortunately for them, some prison inmates are willing to work their asses off to make masks for their fellow citizens.
In Taiwan, Prisoners Volunteer To Sew Face Masks To Deal With Mask Shortage
Inmates from Taipei Prison and other correctional facilities across Taiwan have volunteered to mass-produce cloth masks and face mask protectors.
The new scheme, which prisons across Taiwan are taking part in, gives prisoners an opportunity to give back to society and regain a sense of purpose and confidence.
But this isn’t forced upon them; many of these inmates volunteered for this job in order to help relieve the face-mask shortage.
These inmates have been painstakingly sewing fabric in small tables for long hours.
After stitching the fabric with the sewing machines, they carefully trim the masks with small scissors before ironing and packaging them with care.
But that’s not all.
According to CNA, many inmates have been working extra shifts to fill in the orders.
“Sometimes I have to ask them to take a break,” one Taipei Prison official.
Each mask will sell for NT$25 (S$1.15) each, and the profits will go to victim reparations and improvement of facilities.
A small allowance will also be given to inmates, which they can spend in prison.
The prisoners have already produced close to 52,000 face masks since mid-February.
A Taipei Prison official was quoted as saying that his inmates produce about 1,000 face masks daily.
Now, that’s impressive.
A sense of purpose
You might be wondering where these hardworking men get the motivation to do such a task.
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Well, for one man, it’s his family.
Yuh, a 50-year-old inmate, says he thinks of his loved ones when he’s making the masks.
“When they came to see me, they said it was very difficult to buy face masks out there. I said to them ‘Daddy is making face masks here, and that maybe you will have the benefit and the opportunity to use it’,” he told AFP.
“Every time I sew face masks, I think to myself that it can bring some security to my family.”
Yuh is currently ten years into a 23-year sentence for possession of drugs and firearms.
“This little face mask not only lets us contribute to society, but it also gives us self-esteem,” he said.
We all have a certain image of prisoners: they’re uncouth, inconsiderate, and violent individuals who have no place in society.
But these hardworking men illustrate that just because someone has made some bad decisions in life, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be given a second chance.
While we’re out here reading articles and panicking, these men are actually helping their fellow citizens by making a difference.
They deserve nothing but our respect.
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