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The plight of female factory worker during COVID-19 outbreak

Sun Chan Se, 30, is a Cambodian factory worker. She moved from a remote area to work in Kampong Chhnang town. Now she lives in a small rented room. She is happy about her job and decided to participate in CARE’s project that is currently being implemented in the

Horizon factory.

Like Chan Se and many other female garment factory workers in Cambodia fear the COVID-19 outbreak. She fears this virus, because most common symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the common flu such as a fever and a dry cough. It worries her as there is vaccine yet. She worries about herself, her family and community.

During this challenging time, she starts to learn and improve her practice of strict hygiene measures by frequent hand washing, wearing a mask and buying food from vendors who apply good hygiene practices.

“The problem we face during this crisis, is the poor economy, as workers who are losing their jobs cannot pay their rent, daily food and send money to support our families. It affects our whole life”, says Chan Se. The crisis is affecting many garment workers have had their jobs suspended and feel pressure.

She says “I am afraid of this COVID-19 and I want to have more information about this, so I want the humanitarian organisations like CARE to continue the awareness sessions on how to do with daily hygiene, and reproductive Health during COVID-19.” She add “…..I observed that it is a challenge during the COVID19, because some of the service providers stay home, don’t go to work, so it make us hard to access the health service”.

The impact on garment workers is devastating. Those who continue to work at the factory are facing significant risks as social distancing is hard to do and not all factories are implementing appropriate health and safety measures.

CARE developed a training team and focuses on building this team in each factory drawn from administrative and supervisory staff. CARE will provide key trainers with the resources and capacity to provide a range of initiatives to workers including financial literacy training for small groups, guided screenings of reproductive, maternal health and nutrition videos, and health awareness fairs.

Food vendors around factories will be trained on hygiene and nutrition, with campaigns encouraging workers to eat health and nutritious food. Infirmary staff will be trained to provide improved counselling services, including use of CARE’s Healthy Mother app, and a factory scorecard engaging management, workers, and infirmary staff will be set up to ensure ongoing monitoring and improvements.


Learn more about Health and Nutrition Initiative project >

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