Line of women waiting at Tamar for food
It is time for another update from Tamar Center. First, let me say a big THANK YOU to you all for your support of Tamar Center during this current time. Who would have expected a couple of months ago that the whole world would be in total crisis mode now? Thank you for supporting us and especially to those that helped with our emergency appeal.
Here at Tamar, everybody is safe. Since last week Friday, we are basically shutdown, as the local government shut all non-essential businesses and asked people to stay at home. We are following this. But in the days before, we were very busy with preparing and handing out food packages to women, men and ladyboys (transgenders) that lost their jobs. Here in Pattaya, the complete sex industry was shut down by the government which put tens of thousands of people out of a job. In the beginning, the women where still allowed to stay in the bars as most of them were living there on the top floors, but when the whole closure of all non-essential businesses was announced, the women had to leave and found themselves suddenly on the street.
The impact here is very big. Pattaya relies on the tourism industry for 80% of its income.. I put a link below to a local newspaper article that describes the knock-on effect that the closure on the bars has. Suddenly, we received a lot of calls from women that told us that they had nothing to eat anymore and asked for help. We first packed 20 bags and drove them out, but our car got totally overwhelmed by many women coming and standing in line. We switched gears and over the next days distributed 470 food packages to the people that needed it – each should last for about one week. – It was great teamwork and we enjoyed it, even though it was hard to see the desperation in the eyes of the women. While we are shut down, our team is still in contact with the women. All women who received the food packages, received our contact information and currently, we are working in partnership with some other NGO’s that are still distributing food. We have decided as Tamar Center to concentrate on the emotional support of the women and if they are hungry, send them to others that are providing food. At the same time, we are getting ready to continue our distribution as soon as the others stop, as we are think that this will not be over anytime soon. Many women left Pattaya as well and returned to their villages, but now travelling in Thailand is also very difficult as no buses or trains are running anymore.
While doing this, we also had to keep the women in our program safe. Not easy in this situation. We have many women with HIV, two pregnant ones and some with other health conditions which is part of why we shut down for now. We are evaluating how we can safely continue. Difficult times! Thank you for standing with us and for being concerned about the women here in Pattaya. We will keep you updated and if you would like more detailed information, please follow us on Facebook or contact us via Email.
For the Tamar Family
Bar Girls happy about receiving our food donations
Tamar Team packing the food bags
Woman receiving food bag
Women who receive our food aid