Disadvantaged people helped to overcome COVID-19 effects

(VOVWORLD) - As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers in Ho Chi Minh City lost their jobs, lost income, or were put on unpaid leave. But authorities and particularly trade unions, have helped ease the daily financial worries of poor workers.
Disadvantaged people helped to overcome COVID-19 effects - ảnh 1Teacher Luong Thi Thuy receives a gift pack from the Binh Thanh district Trade Union.   

For 2 months during the pandemic, Luong Thi Thuy, a teacher at Khai Tri Preschool in Ho Chi Minh City, was off work.

Thuy and her husband ordinarly earn about 520 USD per month. After paying rent and other living expenses, they don’t have much left.

When the pandemic broke out, Thuy was 8 months pregnant with her first child, and was trying to save as much as possible.

She was moved to receive a gift pack of 43 USD in cash plus rice, cooking oil, and fish sauce.

“I was in financial difficulty and dependent on my husband’s income, which is unstable because of the epidemic. I have been helped by the Binh Thanh district Trade Union and the school’s Trade Union. I’m happy to have their support,” said Thuy.

Thuy is one of 50 female workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic who received gifts from the Binh Thanh District Trade Union last week.

Because there are few migrant workers in Binh Thanh, the district has focused its support efforts on pregnant union members, those with small children and reduced income, teachers at private preschools who had to stop teaching, female workers who lost their jobs, and people suffering from serious diseases.

According to Pham Van Hoa, Deputy Chairman of the Binh Thanh Trade Union, since mid-March the district has given 50 gift sets worth 52 USD each to disadvantaged female members with children under 12 months old. By the end of April, more than 200 people had been helped, Hoa said.

“In the short term, we will focus our support on contract people who work in public schools like baby-sitters and cooks who don’t get paid from the state budget. When the schools closed, they had reduced or no income,” Hoa added.

Disadvantaged people helped to overcome COVID-19 effects - ảnh 2“Food ATM” is a new initiative to support poor people during COVID-19.   

Every trade union at the grassroots level in Ho Chi Minh City has a program to care for the poor.

The Tan Binh Trade Union has spent more than 21,000 USD to help members affected by the epidemic.

Recently, a local "rice ATM" has been put into operation. Each poor worker receives 2 kilograms of rice from the machine and chicken eggs.

The program has already received more than 15 tons of donated rice and will continue to call for support from the community to keep the machine stocked as long as possible.

Disadvantaged people helped to overcome COVID-19 effects - ảnh 3

Free lunches are handed over to workers in a boarding house in District 9.

During the epidemic, more than 200 lunches a day have been delivered by District 9’s Trade Union to disadvantaged workers in boarding houses. The trade union has also given cash to poor families in the area.

75-year-old Le Thi Me in District 9, whose family has 12 members, told VOV: “Some of my children are handymen who earn less than one dollar per hour. They have recently stayed at home. The ward has given us rice and instant noodles a couple of times. The neighbors have helped us with rice, 5 kilos each time. We are very grateful.”

Trade Union statistics show that about 60,000 workers in HCMC have been affected by COVID-19.

30 grassroots-level trade unions have loaned more than 340,000 USD to 8,600 affected union members, said Ho Xuan Lam, Deputy Chairman of the municipal Trade Union.

“Trade unions at the grassroots level have supported freelance workers, honoring their role in protecting the legitimate rights of labourers,” said Lam.