Hopeful in the Face of Adversity

“I don’t share personal details with just anybody,” said Gunja Kumari Ben, a resident of Bhagalpur, Bihar, as she was approached for a conversation. But when we came to know that she was being approached by SEWA Bharat, Gunja Ben visibly let go of some of her inhibitions. She told that she was familiar with the organization’s work, and began sharing about her trade and recent struggles as a microentrepreneur. She is a tailor who used to earn well until two years ago, but since the onset of COVID-19, she has lost her source of income. Even her husband lost his means of livelihood that came through a cloth business. Gunja Ben and her family had some savings during the 2020 lockdown with which they were able to run their household. But during the second lockdown, it became imperative for them to get a loan from a moneylender at a massive interest rate of 10%, which they are under pressure to return soon. Gunja Ben keeps herself updated about the fast-spreading disease, the possibility of lockdowns, and the vaccine through the TV news, Whatsapp groups, neighbors, and newspapers. She proudly tells us how she uses a mask and sanitizer even within her house and washes her hands multiple times a day. Despite her economic condition she remains hopeful that: when the lockdown opens, she will get to work again.