Cambodia is in a very different situation compared to the beginning of the pandemic. After finishing 2020 with no COVID-related deaths, the country has had roughly 41,000 cases and 431 deaths since February 20, 2021. The virus has spread from Phnom Penh to every province in the country, including Siem Reap. Thus far we have had two families become infected by COVID-19. They were treated in the provincial hospital and have since made a full recovery. When a person comes into contact with a person that has tested positive for COVID-19 or visited a “hot-spot,” their houses are “closed” and they are unable to leave their residence.
Majority of the families that we support previously earned their income as tuk-tuk drivers, construction workers, and street food sellers. There has been little economic recovery in Siem Reap since the beginning of the pandemic, and many families were struggling to support themselves. With the help of HE Space, we were able to provide 50 of our most vulnerable families with emergency cash relief to help them support themselves during this difficult time.
Because there were no lockdowns enforced at the end of May, we were able to distribute the cash manually to avoid the small transaction fee that WING charges. Families came to Anjali individually to collect the cash. During this time, they also met with our social worker and program manager to have an in-depth discussion about their situation. If a family is not able to come to Anjali, our social worker travels to meet them at their home. This also gives Anjali a chance to connect with the family to see how the family is doing.
From our response and discussions with the family they are very appreciative and grateful for the cash relief. It has provided them the freedom to purchase the items that they need. Thus far, all families spent a large portion of the relief on food. The difference now is they can select the items that they want, minimizing waste. We know our families have additional needs, and $30 is not enough to cover all of them. Anjali House is working on a proposal to help some families start small selling businesses to create more sustainable sources of income.