Sreyran was born into a poor family in 1993. Her mother works in a factory and her father, a former soldier, is an auto rickshaw driver. She has two younger brothers.
After time spent in prison for a nonviolent crime Sreyran – hindered by her lack of formal education and now a prison record – could not find a job. Being an ex-convict with little schooling is hard enough, but what really obstructed Sreyran’s job search was the rejection she experienced from her community because she is a lesbian. Sreyran said:
“I was often sick because I didn’t have money to buy nutritious food. Every month my mother borrowed money from her factory and other people to buy food, and pay bills for electricity, water, and visits to the doctor. I thought a lot about my family and the debt we owed from borrowing so much.”
“Luckily, I have been helped by receiving $300 to start my own small business. I have learned important business management skills such as writing a material checklist, noting daily income and expenses, identifying my weaknesses and strengths, and finding simple strategies to improve my business’s overall performance.”
“With my food cart I sell beef meatballs and beverages, and I earn $5-7/day. I am very happy because I no longer need to borrow money from my parents. My family is not forced to ask our neighbors for help. With my income I am paying off our debt, sending my brothers to school, helping friends pay for English lessons, and I am still able to put money aside for future investment in my small business!”