Garment workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving financial assistance through a €5 million [7.9 billion MMK] European Union emergency cash fund, “Myan Ku”. Since 1 May, the “Myan Ku” initiative has distributed payments to a growing number of recipients, today reaching 12,913 individuals and 1,041,000,000 MMK in payments. Recipients include over 11,000 women factory workers from Yangon, Pathein, Mandalay, Bago, Magway Region and elsewhere across the country.
The Myan Ku team of phone operators currently handles calls and applications from tens of thousands of workers from across the country every week. Although a majority of workers are resident in Yangon, over three thousand have received support in Pathein and surroundings, and several hundred in the Mandalay and Magway Regions. Workers who have returned to home villages in Rakhine State, Kayin State, Mon State and elsewhere have also received emergency cash support.
“The real strength of a society should be measured by how it treats the most vulnerable. Myan Ku has extended a safety net under those at risk of sliding into extreme poverty, with extra support to pregnant workers and women with young children. This success is also thanks to the strong support to Myan Ku from the social partners, including employer organizations, trade unions and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population,” said EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt.
In total, over 20,000 workers from 122 factories in the garment, textile and footwear industries have so far applied. Many applications have been submitted by the factories’ human resources managers who are trying to coordinate support for recently terminated or suspended employees. Trade unions have also gathered applications from their members and hundreds of workers have applied directly to the hotline, which is operated from 8am to 8pm daily, Monday to Friday.
"As I have no other sources of income during this pandemic period, the support from Myan Ku helps me to cover my family’s basic needs, especially to buy basic food,” said Ms. Moe Thandar Win
Myan Ku has been set up in April 2020 by the European Union as a rapid response measure to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the predominantly female garment workers from all over Myanmar who lost their jobs due to the crisis.