‘I am afraid I will kill myself, like my husband’: spotlight on loan firms in Cambodia after Indigenous suicides

Microfinance was meant to reduce poverty, but borrowers allege they have been victims of ‘predatory’ loans and repayment tactics, which have led to desperation and deaths.

Kwak Nga was still reeling from her husband’s suicide when his microfinance creditors showed up at her hometo remind her that they still expected the approximate $170 (£140) monthly interest payments the couple had struggled to make.

Nhu Laen killed himself at his farm in November 2022. In the months before his death, LOLC Cambodia, one of Cambodia’s leading microfinance institutions, granted Laen a loan that tripled his debt with the company to more than $18,000, even though, according to Nga, the couple had already been encouraged by LOLC to borrow from other lenders to help repay previous outstanding microloans.

“That [new microloan] was too big an amount – this family is very poor,” says Chav Kham, the chief of Prak II village in north-east Cambodia’s Ratanakiri province, where the couple lived.

In full: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/oct/23/cambodia-microfinance-loan-firms-indigenous-people

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