The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a crisis for people around the globe, including here in Cambodia.
This crisis is not just health related, it has also caused an economic slowdown due to the social distancing measures being taken to stop the spread of the disease.
When people are unable to go out and earn a livelihood, it creates even more misery for their families, especially for daily wage earners who cannot work from home.
In Cambodia, that includes thousands of tuk-tuk drivers and tour guides who are now struggling to make ends meet.
Koy Daravuth, a tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap, used to earn up to $20 each day. But now, with the Covid-19 pandemic, he can only earn around $2 per day. On some days, he earns nothing.
“Prior to the pandemic, we could afford chicken or beef to eat, but now we have to make do with noodles or canned fish,” he said.
More than 50,000 people in Cambodia drive a tuk-tuk to generate their main source of income.
According to the Tuk-Tuk Association, each driver can normally earn about $15 per day. However, during the pandemic, when people have little need for ride hailing services, driver earnings are more in line with Daravuth on just $2.
Tuk-tuk drivers are not alone in seeing their earnings plummet. More than 3,000 tour guides share a similar predicament as tourism and hospitality stagnates during the pandemic.
Since 2016, Ra Saven, 37, has been working as a tour guide in Siem Reap, showing off Cambodia’s cultural heritage mainly to Japanese tourists. Now, she is stuck at home without any earnngs to help her family with expenses.
“I am so stressed now my source of income is gone,” she said. “I have to count on my husband’s income to pay the bank loan and feed my 11-month-old daughter.”
To help those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, Wing Cash Xpress agents, employees of Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank and Royal Group have launched a fundraising initiative to support these families and help them keep food on the table.
Through this charitable programme, they are trying to organise funds to help each participating family meet their basic needs.
“As responsible corporate citizens, we are being mindful not just of our own safety and health, but also that of a needy neighbour and a suffering countryman,” Wing CEO Manu Rajan said.
“It is crucial that Wing joins together to do our part to support and help our community so we can all come out of this tough time together. Your kind support not only helps those in need, but it also inspires others to do more to help protect our community.”
Other willing citizens can also help support community members in need by making a financial donation to the Wing Relief Account.
If using the Wing Money Mobile App, the account number is 03210000 for donating riel and 03310000 for dollars. Donors can also contribute through any of the 7,500 Wing Cash Xpress Agents across Cambodia.