“I started panicking when the lockdown started. My sales fell, and suddenly I owed a lot of money to a lot of people.” - Minara Begum, Sonargaon, Narayanganj.
Minara and her husband run a small clothing business, which came to a standstill just before the lockdown in March. Minara used her savings to support the family through April and then started borrowing money from her neighbours to make ends meet. People soon stopped helping though, even those who reached out to her in the beginning.
When the closest BRAC microfinance office to Minara partially opened, Minara paid off half of the instalments due on her loan and then took a new loan of BDT 70,000 (USD 826).
“The lockdown was lifting slowly at the same time as the microfinance office opened, so we took a new loan and restarted our business. It is not performing as well as it did before the lockdown yet, but for now, we are just happy to be able to reopen”.