Caring for Our Communities

Nov 11, 2020 Tags: Corporate news, Vf in the community

The VF Foundation worked with local nonprofits to distribute life-saving resources to Asian garment workers devastated by the COVID-19 crisis.

Every thread of our global community has seen the pandemic's impacts, including those who make VF products. Across Asia, COVID-19 temporarily halted the operations at hundreds of manufacturing sites. In turn, thousands of vulnerable garment workers continue to suffer through financial stress and food insecurity with their families.

Compelled to help, The VF Foundation invested more than $320,000 to support garment workers throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including its two most recent grants in Cambodia and India.

CARE International in Cambodia: Aid for Women

There are nearly 600,000 garment industry workers in Cambodia, with women making up roughly 85% of the workforce. The pandemic has seen more than 200 Cambodian garment factories suspend operations affecting more than 150,000 workers, many of whom are women. According to CARE Cambodia, these female workers are equal and often sole supporters for their families, sending upwards of 40% of their salaries home. As a result, they and their families are particularly impacted by COVID-19 and have gender-specific support needs. 

To identify gender-specific necessities post-crisis, CARE Cambodia used its Rapid Gender Analysis toolkit: a five-step process that evaluates the needs of women, men, boys, and girls to build a humanitarian response plan. The collected input determined what items were included in the wellness kits for female staff.

VF believes that supporting women helps to lift communities up, especially in times of crisis. That's why The VF Foundation donated $50,000 to CARE Cambodia to support female garment operatives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, an area that thousands of garment industry workers call home.

The VF Foundation donation funded more than 9,000 individual hygiene kits that included soap, face masks, sanitary pads, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and handkerchiefs.

"The population in these communities are facing an incredible amount of adversity," said Jan Noorlander, Deputy Country Director for CARE International in Cambodia. "These kits are critical to keeping women, and their children, healthy throughout this monumental crisis."

To help assess potential future needs, CARE International in Cambodia is compiling a report of the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on female apparel specialists. The VF Foundation will lean on those key metrics to inform future grants.

GoodWeave International: Relief for Indian Children

Throughout India, garment workers and their children have grappled with challenges wrought by COVID-19. Over 80% of Indian apparel workers surveyed by GoodWeave report they lost their job since the beginning of the pandemic. Many of those people have struggled to put food on the table for their families ever since.

To help those impacted most by the global pandemic, The VF Foundation donated $50,000 to Goodweave for relief work in India. The donation directly funded enough food packs to feed nearly 4,000 families of four for up to one month. Filled with rice, flour, dal (lentils), oil, sugar, salt, as well as soap, the packs provide essential nutrition and sustenance during this critical time. In total, the gift positively impacted approximately 16,000 garment industry workers and their children in Northern India.

The provisions included nutritious food, face masks, and sanitization items designed to help keep kids healthy and safe in school. The emergency rations were distributed to residents in and around Gurgaon, a city on the southwest periphery of New Delhi, Haryana, and the surrounding areas of Ghaziabad and Faridabad, where thousands of garment workers reside.  

The funding for this latest round of gifting was generated primarily from a cause-marketing campaign conducted by VF's running shoe brand, Altra®.  Throughout April 2020, the brand donated the proceeds of one of its most popular running shoes to the GlobalGiving COVID Relief Fund. The VF Foundation matched those dollars two-for-one, which more than tripled their efforts and brought the total donation to $100,000. Further proving that VF, our family of brands, and The VF Foundation are truly stronger together.