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FEATURE STORY March 21, 2021

Holding on to Hope


Sabrina Dangol/World Bank Nepal

Tahira Banu, Shopkeeper

Tahira Banu is a shopkeeper in Patan Durbar Square selling custom-designed beaded necklaces and bangles for the past twenty years. Started by her father-in-law, the shop has been with her family for generations. Business was good until they had to close shop for more than nine months in 2020 when the pandemic hit. 

Tahira lives in a large joint family of twenty ranging from elderly members to infants under one. The lockdown was chaotic, she remembers with everyone under one roof. No one left the house for four to five months except for essential work. The family spent their savings on stockpiling food and medicines. 

After the lockdown was eased, she opened her shop as soon as she could since a small business like hers runs on credit with suppliers. While business is very slow - the sale is just 25% of what it used to be  before - Tahira also worries about possible infection and spreading it in her large family. She is unsure of what the future holds, and feels that if a similar crisis happens again she will have to close her business permanently. 

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This story is one of 23 stories spotlighting women from Nepal who are breaking the mold through their stories of resilience, hope, and grit amid the COVID19 pandemic. Read all the stories here.