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VietNamNews

Migrant women get support to access welfare

Update: November, 11/2013 - 11:08
Nearly 100 other migrant female workers who are living in the ward joined the health check organised by the Institute of Community Health and Development - a local non-governmental organisation - and the United Nations Women.— Photo giadinh

By Minh Huong

HA NOI (VNS)— Although 40-year-old Nguyen Thi Quyen has worked as a porter at wholesale Long Bien Market for eight years, renting a makeshift room nearby in Phuc Xa Ward, last Friday morning was the first time she received a free health check.

She said that she hardly underwent any health checks at local infirmary or hospital, but instead would go to the nearest drugstore to buy medicine when she felt sick.

"I have many things to worry about, living in the city, including a high cost of living, cramped housing, employment and a shortage of clean water," she said, adding that she worked as much as possible to afford a life in the city and send some money home to support her family.

My landlord informed me about the health check a few days before, Quyen said, noting that she had just finished her working from 3am to 9am in the market.

Nearly 100 other migrant female workers who are living in the ward joined the health check organised by the Institute of Community Health and Development (LIGHT) - a local non-governmental organisation - and the United Nations Women.

This is part of a three-year project "We are women: A right-based approach to empowering migrant women in Viet Nam" which expects to help rural migrant women, especially those working in the informal sector, better access to social welfare and improve their livelihood.

Vice head of LIGHT, Nguyen Thu Giang, said that migrant workers were vulnerable to job instability, low income, criminal activity, violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking, in addition to lacking policy support.

"Migrant workers have poor access to health or social insurance and few of them have the chance to join social organisations which could help them," she said.

Last year, LIGHT was among 39 organisations around the world to win a grant over 901 proposals applying for the Fund for Gender Equaliy – a global UN Women fund exclusively dedicated to gender equality; and economic and political empowerment.

The grant, worth US$200,000, was the first for an organisation in Viet Nam.

The project is being rolled out in wards in Ha Noi including Phuc Xa, Phuc Tan, Yen Phu, Ngoc Thuy and six communes in provinces of Nam Dinh, Thai Binh and Thanh Hoa.

Under the project, migrant workers will be offered training to improve their skills and understanding as well as exercise their rights to healthcare and legal assistance.

They are also offered loans and instructions to manage finances and run businesses to improve their income.

The project is expected to directly benefit 1,140 women and 1,090 men. — VNS

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