Khantone Phamuang spoke on behalf of CDEA, an NGO which he represents, and which has been working with HomeNet Southeast Asia through Homenet Thailand. Social security for the informal sector is a very new idea in his country. Likewise, this is a new idea for him because he was exposed to community development; that was his organizing track back home. But he assured fellow HomeNet participants that the new knowledge gathered from this meeting will be applied when he returns to his country.
Mr. Phamuang said that social welfare is being practiced in Laos by giving out loans for education, health, maternity etc. There is also a savings group where members obtain benefits from the interest at the end of the year. The provision for social service is made possible through a savings group that gives some amount to members during times of need – death of a family member, giving birth, payment for coffin, or provide some amount of money (equivalent to USD 300) to the bereaved family. The group also provides support for income generating activities and in the marketing of homeworkers’ products.
Mr. Phamuang reiterated that he will study how social security can be extended to the workers in his country. What he has learned from this workshop, particularly social protection and security of homeworkers and those in the informal economy, will not be wasted. The concept of social security will be introduced to them. Much more, he can see that these workers need safety and health insurance because the working environment can be really bad, and there are health hazards in the workplace.