A year later and she has paid her sister far more than the original sum through these daily interest payments, but the debt still stands. She stands on the street and shouts 'I didn't give you that money for free' and other horrible things," says Than Than Htwe.She is not the only one to be crippled by high interest loans in Yangon.A television used to decorate one corner of the house, balanced on a shelf to avoid the floodwater and sewage that seeped in through the floorboards while seasonal rain thrashed the hand-built structure from above.But they no longer have to worry about the television getting wet in monsoon season. Than Than Htwe has struggled to support the household since her grandchildren moved in last year.Two of Than Than Htwe's sons work as trishaw drivers, earning about 5,000 kyat per day (roughly .7).Her son-in-law earns a similar wage as a casual labourer, but is offered only 10 to 15 days work a month.
While the loan may rescue them from an immediate financial emergency, the interest rates - which range from 5 percent daily to 30 percent monthly - trap the borrower in a perpetual cycle of debt.
She was unable to afford the five percent daily interest rate and the debt quickly tripled.
"If you are the woman in the family and not educated, your only choice is sex work.
Out of school and with high familial debt, she too is vulnerable to child labour, early marriage or perhaps worse.
"With such high interest rates, a poor family can very quickly find themselves with 4 lakh (roughly 6), 5 lakh (roughly 0) or even 6 lakh (roughly 4) of debt …While education is nominally free in Myanmar, the cost of snacks, notebooks and informal tuition fees are too much for families struggling to repay their spiralling debts.