Connecting Regions of Asia.

Poverty And The Pandemic: Asian Fight Back Stories

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Jessica in Legazpi City, Philippines, recently had to evacuate from home with her family of seven because a typhoon was approaching her region.   

 “We were brought into a school and given our own classroom to maintain social distancing policies,” she said. “It is really hard having this pandemic and a calamity at the same time. You have to fear from acquiring the virus and fear the typhoons.”  

 After her parents died a few years ago, Jessica became the legal guardian to two of her youngest siblings, including 14-year-old Waynel, a sponsored childthrough Unbound’s program. She and her husband also have three of their own children, all living with them in the home.  

“It’s really hard knowing that we are too many inside the house,” Jessica said.   

 Fortunately, the family found their home still standing after the typhoon passed, though they were without electricity and stable communication lines.

Shanthi is a 36-year-old widow and mother of three in Hyderabad, India, who has struggled to find steady work since the pandemic began. She used to have a bustling snack vending business in the local market, but the virus forced her business to remain closed for months. Now she spends each day searching for informal work around her community to earn income to feed her three children.  

 “As a family we are struggling a lot,” Shanthi said. “I’m ready to work and searching for work. On days when I am able to find work, it’s only for two days out the week and that’s what I use to buy food.”  

 The steadiest work Shanthi has found so far is helping a painter mix paint two days a week, earning the equivalent $2 to $6 a day. She’s also still coping with the loss of her husband, and says being confined in the house now has not helped.

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