“We were building our first home together when the pandemic hit. Suddenly we were stuck with half a business and half a house” - Tajnahar Begum, Senbagh Sadar, Feni.
Tajnahar runs a grocery business in south-eastern Bangladesh. Business was good. All the expenses of the family of four were being met, and she was saving. Then, the pandemic hit. Her sales dropped suddenly, and managing her family’s expenses became increasingly difficult. Eventually, the business capital ran out.
The house where Tajnahar lives is old and small. She knows the children need more space. She was building a house with the profit from the grocery shop, but was forced to abandon the work.
Tajnahar reached out to friends and neighbours for help, but none could support her. She had repaid her last loan from BRAC in February, and considered applying for a new one, but the offices were all closed.
Tajnahar struggled through the lockdown period, closing her shop. It was a quiet period until lockdown started to ease and BRAC’s microfinance operations partially resumed. Tajnahar was elated. She availed a loan of BDT 120,000 (USD 1,415), her and her husband picked up her grocery business again, and they have now restarted on the house construction. It will be some time before they recover to pre-pandemic levels, but they are happy to be able to try again.