Voices from the frontline: Parinya Sirirattanapanya

UN Women is bringing the voices of women on the front lines of the pandemic. As essential workers, care givers and journalists, here are some s(h)eroes who are out there, every day, protecting and serving their communities.

Parinya Sirirattanapanya, Food delivery service provider, Bangkok, Thailand

Food delivery is among the few essential services still open in most countries during coronavirus lockdowns. Forty-four-year-old Parinya Sirirattanapanya is among an estimated 150,000 GrabFood delivery drivers, mostly men, in the city of Bangkok. It’s the go-to service for most people in the city, including immigration officer, Natawan Pintho.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Parinya had a pop-up clothing shop. But no one is out on the streets shopping anymore and her small business is shut down. She says there are many women food delivery workers now.

“The number of food delivery workers is rapidly increasing and the mall’s operating hours have been adjusted to 11 am to 8 pm. I receive less order and wait longer to collect the food,” says Parinya.

She understands the risk she is exposed to every day and takes all the precautions that she can so that she doesn’t take the virus back to her family.

“I am more likely to face health risks, but I have no choice. I need the financial support for my family.”

“When I go out, I wear a jacket, 2 masks—one fabric and one disposable mask—and gloves, to minimise the risk of infection. I also prepare hand sanitizers and antibacterial sprays to take with me. I always keep my hands clean and away from my face. Every single time I return change to customers (if I have to take off my gloves), I wash my hands or clean them with hand sanitizer.”

“I wish that COVID-19 could be controlled as soon as possible. I know that several measures are implemented to reduce the [spread] of the virus, but many people in the society take them for granted. Taking social responsibility is essential in this situation.,” Parinya reflects.

“The testing capacity for COVID-19 is really limited. I hope everyone could get tested free of cost. Then we can minimise the spread of COVID-19,” she adds.