“With no one travelling in our auto-rickshaws and no one to buy our milk, my family survived because of our savings" - Rabaya Akhtar, Sonargaon, Narayanganj.
Rabaya’s husband and two sons are auto-rickshaw drivers. Rabaya, a client of BRAC’s microfinance programme, took out a loan to buy a cow in 2019, hoping to diversify their income.
“COVID-19 hit just as we were starting to achieve something,” said Rabaya, “almost overnight, my husband and sons barely had customers, and nobody was coming to buy milk from us anymore.”
Rabaya, like many of BRAC’s clients who ran small and micro businesses, were hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic. BRAC ran an assessment of clients across the country, maintaining health and safety guidelines, and then supported them to withdraw from their savings to cover emergency needs.
Marufa Akther, from BRAC, supported Rabaya to responsibly choose how much of her savings to refund - so that her family would survive, but also that she kept a long-term perspective so her family would be financially safe when the lockdown ended.