In the wake of the pandemic, tens of thousands of migrant workers are returning to villages across the country from Thailand. In April 2020, the number of Myanmar migrant workers from Thailand via the Myawaddy Border Crossing point in Kayin state reached as many as 80,000. Prompt actions and aid for adequate social relief, as well as data analysis of information and response were essential to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.
The Vocational Skills Development Program (VSDP), in collaboration with state governments and local civic organisations in Mon and Kayin States, has contributed over 7,000 masks and essential products, and supported the COVID-19 information and response centre with IT resources. As many rural tailors have temporary or permanently lost their income as a result of the COVID-19, the VSDP is also supporting a group of unemployed tailors throughout Mon state to produce over 80,000 reusable masks for distribution to local communities in Bilin, Thanphyuzayat, Mawlamyine, Mudon and Ye townships.
Mon and Kayin states are among the targeted areas of the VSDP where local vocational training is being implemented in occupations of demand for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. The VSDP aims to promote improved livelihood opportunities for women and men in targeted areas and occupations in Myanmar. The Program is implemented by Swisscontact Myanmar and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).