Steelworkers Humanity Fund Provides $37,690 to Support Workers Affected by COVID-19

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund (SHF) has contributed close to $38,000 to five organizations to address the emergency needs of workers and communities affected by COVID-19 in Guatemala, Peru, Liberia and Zimbabwe.

The funding, allocated in May, comes from the contributions of United Steelworkers (USW) members to the Steelworkers Humanity Fund. It will help overcome some of the most-pressing challenges of the pandemic, especially for informal workers, in regions where the SHF maintains regular partnerships.

In Guatemala, ASDENA will help poor peasant families in the Chimaltenango area survive the isolation period by distributing food baskets. It will also organize information sessions about the impact of COVID-19 and coordinate awareness-raising activities around the governmental lockdown measures.

In the country’s capital, CAFNIMA has been supporting the families of informal recycling workers in the municipal landfill for many years. The lockdown having reduced their access to their livelihood, CAFNIMA will support 400 families with food rations for the duration of the crisis, as well as a safe daycare option for children of parents who have no choice but to go to work.

In Peru, the SHF has partnered with Asociación Quisca to provide resources to a community radio station to broadcast public health information on COVID-19 in the Amazon, as well as to human rights groups that are documenting the dire situation of the Kukama Indigenous people.

Camp for Peace Liberia, also a long-time SHF partner, received additional funds to support unexpected expenses for its farmers’ school, as many of its students could not travel home during the lockdown. Funds will also support marginalized groups living on the fringes of the country’s capital that have been made even more vulnerable in the current context.

Finally, in a country with already dismal labour standards, SHF will support the work of the Zimbabwe Labour Centre as it develops digital educational materials on workers’ health, employment rights and fair wages in the context of the pandemic, as well as online workshops expected to reach 1,000 workers across the country.

“Not only will this support reach some of the most-vulnerable pockets of populations around the world, it will also help these local organizations show their value and relevance for working people,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director and President of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund.

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund is a registered charitable organization that promotes respect for human rights and contributes to development projects and emergency aid in developing countries, as well as supporting Canadian communities in crisis. United Steelworkers members contribute to the fund through clauses negotiated into collective agreements. In some cases employers make matching contributions.