HIGHER NUMBER OF MIGRANTS IN PRECARIOUS SITUATION Caritas to distribute financial help to non-resident workers

Marco Carvalho

Caritas Macau will distribute one-thousand-pataca checks to non-resident workers who are currently in a very precarious situation, Mr Paul Pun Chi Meng told O Clarim.  The Secretary-general of the organization says the number of migrant workers who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 epidemic outbreak has increased dramatically. For many of them, Caritas has been their only line of salvation.

Since the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, at the end of January, Caritas has provided support to more than a thousand non-resident workers who have been fired or dismissed due to the economical impact of the outbreak.

In a first phase, in February, the organization led by Paul Pun handed out more than a thousand food baskets to migrant workers who saw their job contracts terminated by their employers.

Beginning on April, Caritas has been answering requests of a different nature, addressed by people who are stranded in Macau and have no financial capacity to secure their livelihood: “In February and March, we distributed food to over one thousand people and in April we had more cases of people that were not asking for food only. They were asking for more support in order to pay for this, to pay for that,” Paul Pun explains. “We have already more than one hundred people in this situation, in need of support. We foresee that, in the sooner future, we may have to receive more individuals. Right now, we are ready to use our donations to support them,” the Secretary-general of Caritas Macau told O Clarim.

With the help of a few private donors who made a commitment to lend a helping hand to non-resident workers, Caritas offered a small sum of money to a few migrants who are in a more vulnerable situation: “Even though our resources are limited, we still try to promote some actions. Aside from asking for help from private donors, we issued a few checks to some individuals. Hopefully, some of them have been able to handle this situation easily, with no heavy burden on their shoulders,” Paul Pun assumes.

Now, Caritas wants to raise those same aid mechanisms to a new level and proposes to offer one thousand patacas checks to non-resident workers who are in desperate straits and dire need. Caritas has 60,000 patacas to distribute to those at risk, Paul Pun told O Clarim: “We are preparing checks of 1000 patacas for those people that need the most. It is not a big amount, but 1000 can already help some of them. I am not sure about how many one thousand patacas we will be able to distribute, but if we don’t start with the first one thousand we will never be able to reach those in need,” the Secretary-general of Caritas claims. “I got a sixty thousand patacas donation for them. It’s just sixty checks, right? But we are still asking for more. If we don’t ask for more, we won’t be able to reach and help over one hundred or two hundred or three hundred people,” Mr Pun Chi Meng explains.