2020 was a year unlike any other. The CoVID-19 pandemic challenged countries and companies, and its negative economic effects impacted harshly the 700,000+ garment factory workers in Myanmar, all of whom dealt with stretches of unemployment ranging from weeks to months, and about 60,000 of whom faced complete termination of employment.
85% of workers in the Myanmar apparel industry are women, a majority of whom are also internal migrants. To support these workers during this time of unprecedented economic crisis, the European Union collaborated with local and international NGOs and civil society to establish a unique cash assistance fund. Designed, funded and implemented within just one month, the EU Myan Ku Fund provided 108,320 support payments totalling 5 million EUR from May 1st onwards.
Unfortunately, the CoVID-19 pandemic continues to rage worldwide, compromising many livelihoods in the export-oriented garment sector. To cope with this, the Myan Ku Fund was extended to February 2022 to ensure continuous support for the most vulnerable workers, such as migrant workers, pregnant workers, and workers with young children.