CPI Mask-Making Initiative Offers Income Lifeline to Myanmar Families in Need During COVID-19 Lockdown
The front room of Hla Hla Htwe’s home in Pyapon, Ayeyarwady Region, is a hive of activity. Family members are busy cutting fabric, sewing, washing, and ironing on a makeshift production line. They are making cloth face masks to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. “On a good day, we can produce about 100 masks,” Hla Hla Htwe says. She and her family are part of a Community Partners International (CPI) initiative to help vulnerable families and communities who have lost work due to COVID-19 to generate income through mask making.
"I don’t know what I would do without this opportunity. I was afraid that no one would help me in these hard times."
In 2018, a group of women in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, were looking for ways to generate income to support their families and help members of their community displaced by conflict. After the breakdown of a ceasefire in 2011, Kachin State has been locked in conflict between the Myanmar Army and ethnic armed organizations. The conflict has killed thousands and more than 100,000 people currently shelter in displacement sites in Kachin and Northern Shan states. From different Kachin ethnicities, the women met through a local Baptist church and decided to pool their resources under the name “Good Mom”.
Down a dusty side street on the outskirts of Myitkyina in Kachin State, the "clack-clack" of wooden looms can be heard in the distance. Drawing closer, in a compound fenced with bamboo, a modest house with walls of woven bamboo slats and a zinc roof sits on concrete stilts. It is home to Ja Dwal Weaving.