The European Commission has launched a ‘Rapid Response’ support fund for Myanmar’s textile and garment sector in light of the Covid-19 crisis, with the aim of assisting around 70,000 workers.
The Myan Ku ‘Quick Assistance’ Fund is a EUR5m (US$5.5m) rapid response cash fund to support the mostly female garment workers from across Myanmar who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“Quick and unbureaucratic cash payments will help workers pay for food and avoid evictions,” organisers say.
The fund will be distributed by SMART Myanmar – a European Union-funded initiative aimed at promoting ‘Made in Myanmar’ garments and sustainable practices.
“We aim to reach approximately 70,000 unemployed and underemployed garment workers with critically important financial assistance during the challenging months of May, June and July, when we expect low order volumes from abroad,” the organisation says.
Amongst those receiving help, the fund will assist around 80% of “workers in crisis”, ie those who are either jobless or face eviction, and cash transfers to workers for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) who agree to retain workers and agree to provide at least matching support.