Below is a field report from Ann, one of the tireless volunteers at Help without Frontiers (HwF). HwF is currently providing emergency food packages to displaced people from Myanmar in Thailand who have seen their income being wiped out in the wake of COVID-19. (You can read more here: COVID-19 Response)
On day 3 of the distribution of the "Food Set for Life" the packages made their way into the hands of villagers (many of whom are parents) among the Cow Market and Mae Ku communities (171 sets in total). Members of the Cow Market Community used to earn an income, having work from the cow market business. Now, the market has been forced to close. There is no work for the community members and the income they had come to depend, on has dried up.
There are many small and school-aged children in these communities. Also many pregnant women, people with disabilities and elderly. Many children need to live with relatives (e.g. grandparents, uncles, aunts) while their parents work elsewhere, sometimes as far as Bangkok. In many cases the job in Bangkok no longer exists and so the money they used to send over to help support their children has dried up and lockdown restrictions on travel prevent them from visiting their children.
It's not surprising that in such an environment many children drop out of school prematurely to help their parents earn money. Some children only get to second grade. It's also not uncommon to see teen mothers in these communities.
During today's distribution to the Mae Ku community, we received help from teachers of the Ah Yone Oo and Irrawaddy Flower Garden school. Due to the large size of this community, we dispatched an interviewer to collect family information from each house, and each family representative came to pick up a "Food Set for Life" at our car. There were 5 families that we weren't able to deliver to because the car was not able to reach their small group of houses. We plan to work with the community leader to deliver to these 5 remaining families.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this delivery happen and for helping us share our message. The delivery mission will continue. On the 21st, 22nd and 25th we will be delivering "Food Sets for Life" in 3 communities in Mae Sot and Phop Phra, totalling 137 sets / families.
You can help Help Without Frontiers with their emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis. Please see our dedicated page on how you can support them: COVID-19 Response
You can help Help Without Frontiers with their emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis. For donations, please see our dedicated page on how you can support them: COVID-19 Response. If you are not in a position to donate, please consider sharing this message on social media to spread the word.