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The women making face-masks to support vulnerable communities in Vietnam

Jul 7, 2020

Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit Vietnam, Le Thi Gam was working as a tailor in the rural province of Hai Duong. With a secure job in a factory, Gam earned up to $300 dollars a month making clothes. But because of the Coronavirus lockdown, her livelihood as a tailor took a hit:

“My work has been interrupted a lot due to the COVID-19 virus, and jobs are hard to find, so my family’s economic situation is very difficult.”

Le Thi Gam

face-masks vietnam

Above: Le Thi Gam has been re-employed to make medical face-masks for vulnerable people.

 

Like at least three million workers in Vietnam, Le Thi Gam and her workmates were laid off as global supply chains were paralysed. While Vietnam is a world leader in controlling COVID-19, the economic shock threatens unprecedented labour cuts and is already pushing families into insecurity and poverty.

But through a partnership between Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, Irish Aid, the 8th March Centre, and the Haiduong Women’s Union, Le Thi Gam and her workmates have been able to return to their factory to make protective face-masks.

By rapidly re-deploying our combined resources, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA and its partner organisations have been able to secure contracts for the factory, train the workers in new skills, and distribute face-masks to vulnerable families.

The medical-grade face-masks that she and her forty workmates produce are already being distributed to 25,000 vulnerable and poor people in the rural province:

 

By rapidly re-deploying our combined resources, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA and its partner organisations have been able to secure contracts for the factory, train the workers in new skills, and distribute face-masks to vulnerable families.

The medical-grade face-masks that she and her forty workmates produce are already being distributed to 25,000 vulnerable and poor people in the rural province:

“Making face masks is very important, because it helps poor people and the whole community. Helping each other in difficult times will bring people closer and closer.”

Le Thi Gam

Use of face-masks is required in Vietnam as part of the government’s efforts to control the spread of Coronavirus. The Haiduong Women’s Union has identified 25,000 people needing support to obtain face-masks, with particular emphasis on people from low-income homes, including 1,000 people living with disabilities, and 4,000 school children. These people will now receive the protective face-masks that Le Thi Gam and her workmates have produced.

Another worker in the factory, Ngo Thi Hen, told us:

“I’m a tailor, and before the pandemic I thought that I could only earn money by tailoring. But through this pandemic I found myself contributing some energy to the prevention of the pandemic. I feel very excited!”

Ngo Thi Hen

The partnership provided a three-days skills training course, in which the women learned to make the three-layer antibacterial face-mask, and also trained on how to stay healthy and safe at work during the Coronavirus pandemic.
face-masks vietnam

Above: Ngo Thi Hen has been re-employed to make face-masks for school children and people living with a disability.

“Staying safe at work during the pandemic is a priority. For example, when I’m at work, I must sterilize my hands, wear a face-mask, not gather in a crowd, and keep my distance from others.”

Ngo Thi Hen

 

The Coronavirus pandemic is a health and economic crisis of unprecedented scale, but Le Thi Gam and Ngo Thi Hen know that by standing together in solidarity, we can protect both lives and jobs:

“Since the pandemic affects everyone around the globe, the Vietnamese people have joined hands with the world in solidarity, and Vietnam has effectively prevented the pandemic.”

Ngo Thi Hen

face-masks vietnam

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