When all the doors are locked and you can’t escape, what do you do? You crack open the window.
Sadiya Akhtar faced the same situation in 2016. After 6 months of marriage, Sadiya ran away from her husband’s house. Due to relentless domestic violence and constant pestering of dowry, this brave lady decided to find her freedom outside. “It wasn’t an easy decision for me… to run away and look for independence. Things were tough and then they got tougher”, Sadiya speaks. Her flight was out of impulse and a thirst for freedom but she had not planned everything.
“I was stranded alone. I could not ask for money from my relatives. They would have pushed me back to that demon’s house. I had nowhere to go and my friend, Rimi, helped me move into her house. But I could not stay even there for a long time. She had her parents to support and I could not be a burden to her.”
Unsure of what to do, Sadiya decided to help herself. The first thing she needed was money. The banks weren’t of any help: without any financial record or trail, they did not give her any loan but buried her under complicated paperwork and demands of obscure documents.
“I had taken the decision to open my own flower shop. But to venture into business, no matter how small, you need money. the bank was not ready to give it to me. But someone else was.” After weeks of doors closing on her face, Sadiya heard of digital lending. She looked it up and applied for a digital loan. She got a prompt response from them. Without any hassle, she received a little taka for her shop.
“That money helped me set up my shop and get all the assets. I had never imagined that such a service could exist and help me get back on my feet. Had this digital financial system not been available to me, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”
Today, Sadiya owns a successful flower shop by the name of ‘Aasha‘ (‘Hope’ in the Bengali language). She adopted a girl in 2019 and today, balances her work and life happily. “While Rumi gave me the emotional strength I needed, they helped me financially, included me within the financial system. Not a lot of people in Bangladesh are aware of the amazing services and products that today’s technology offers but they should be since digital lending saves people like us.”
This story of Sayida, a warrior woman from the streets of Bangladesh, echoes the importance of financial inclusivity. We salute her bravery and her will.