Female domestic help helped tide over Covid-19 crisis

By Viet Anh   February 4, 2021 | 06:00 pm PT
Female domestic help helped tide over Covid-19 crisis
A house helper works in Hanoi, January 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Hue.
More than 350 women in the informal economy have received cash and training assistance worth $36,000 to overcome Covid-19 impacts.

The assistance, delivered by a project supported by New Zealand and humanitarian agency CARE in Vietnam, reached female workers in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Hai Phong, and Da Nang, who are working with a technology company providing on-demand house cleaning services.

The assistance eased the recipients’ financial stress and strengthened their resilience during the pandemic, according to Thursday press release from the New Zealand Embassy.

New Zealand Chargé d’Affaires Joseph Mayhew said the initiative focused on migrant workers and their families, who are among the most economically vulnerable groups amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Over the last year, the pandemic and uncertain recovery prospects have aggravated the already precarious livelihoods of informal workers, and put their coping mechanisms to the test, the release said.

The cash assistance will help cover overdue rents, settle debt, attend to medical needs, pay for children’s tuition, among other immediate financial needs.

In addition, the initiative provides workers with knowledge and skills in financial management to support their financial decision-making in uncertain times, and financial well-being in the longer term.

According to a United Nations assessment of the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 in Vietnam, female-headed households of informal sector workers, together with ethnic minority households, have showed the slowest rates of economic recovery.

The General Statistics Office of Vietnam’s (GSO) latest figures have also revealed that although the labour market is starting to recover, it has not reached the pre-pandemic levels and the number of those in informal employment increased in 2020 after years of continuous decline, reaching 20.9 million workers in the last quarter of 2020.

Le Kim Dung, Country Director, CARE International in Vietnam, said supporting female informal workers not only targets those among the hardest hit by the pandemic, but also those at the forefront of economic recovery.

On January 7, the GSO announced that the unprecedented impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have forced 32.1 million Vietnamese workers aged 15 or above to either lose their jobs or have their working hours reduced in 2020.

As a result, the nation’s labor force shrank by 1.3 million workers to 53.4 million last year. Among the unemployed, 51.6 percent were women.

In 2020, Vietnam saw a 10-year record high unemployment rate of 2.48 percent, up 0.31 percentage points against the previous year.

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