COVID-19 has significantly impacted Southeast Asia’s health, economic, and political spheres. The pandemic has inflicted real suffering, with a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable highlighting even more the inequalities in the region. The COVID-19 cases are increasing and as quarantines continue throughout the region to prevent greater spread we’ve watched as the Philippines unemployment rate increased to 45.5%*, nearly 45% of Indonesians are at risk of falling below the poverty line, and Myanmar predicts a 41% drop in its GDP*. According to Asian Development Bank specialist, “This is the worst economic impact in Southeast Asia ever on record” and nearly 35% of Southeast Asians are at risk of experiencing malnutrition due to the COVID-19 ripple effects on their livelihoods and work.
Despite these challenging times, the network of Partners Worldwide will never give up – forging new partnerships, adapting ways to meet the needs of our Local Community Institutions, supporting the entrepreneurs, and collaborating with our committed voluntary Business Affiliate teams as they innovate and serve.
In Indonesia, eighty-five percent of the operations of our partner Wahana Visi (World Vision) has paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, using generous support funds from the PW network, Partnership Manager Jimmy Atmadjaja worked with Wahana Visi and two local universities to design a series of nine virtual training workshops to provide over 200 microbusiness owners greater skills in food service, sewing and tailoring, handicrafts, and even how to start a reselling business. These workshops not only provided the participants practical skills, but was also a source of hope community during difficult circumstances.
In Myanmar, the LCI Mandalay Christian Business Fellowship business owners and the BA team went above and beyond to provide support toward food and shelter for refugees impacted during COVID-19. They matched the COVID-19 response fund provided by PW to Myanmar and were a great blessing to hundreds of refugees greatly affected by the pandemic.
And, despite still undergoing the longest COVID-19 lockdown in the world, in the Philippines, PW celebrates its new partnership with Samaritana Transformation Ministries, Inc., with the alignment to further equip women emerging from the sex trafficking industry. With this partnership, it hopes to free these women from bondage, equip them with dignified work and provide sustainable livelihood.
As PW continues to witness God’s faithfulness and testify to His goodness amidst these uncertain times in Southeast Asia, our confidence comes from knowing that He who called us is faithful and we can trust that He will carry us through. We thank you for your support, prayer, service, and willingness to never give up.