Priya sells bananas from her street cart to supplement the unstable and poor income that her husband receives as a daily wage laborer. Unlike many other vendors who chemically ripen their produce, Priya maintains the natural integrity of her stock and allows them to ripen organically.
Before joining UMBC, Priya was trapped in a relentless and exploitative cycle. She was required to pay her wholesaler upfront to for the banana produce. However because of her lack of access to financial resources, the only way that Priya could access the product was on a high interest-bearing loan to the wholesaler.
This significantly increased the cost of her banana inputs, thereby lessening her profit to almost none or negative during times of low sales. Facing limited income-generating alternatives to repay her debt, Priya was caught. Despite her efforts, she was no longer working to benefit her family, but slaving at the hands of debt.
After discussing her situation with UMBC, Priya was granted an interest-free loan, which outlined that UMBC would pay the wholesaler each morning for the banana stock. Once Priya had the opportunity to sell the goods and generate revenue, she would repay UMBC the lower interest-free cost. Additionally she setup regular meetings with UMBC staff to track her progress and receive support counseling.
Priya is caring, hard working and passionate about her children. Whenever we visit her home, she showers us with her beautiful natural bananas and will never accept any payment in return. Her debt difficulties did not stem from her incompetence, but instead were a result of her limited access to capital and support. As she is now able to access her banana inputs for the interest-free cost, Priya is able to bring home higher revenue to support her family, and is no longer a slave to inescapable debt.