After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz Republic suffered a major economic downturn as it began the transition to a market-based economy. When Sergei and Olga first opened the sewing workshop in 1997, a major challenge was the lack of access to credit. After a year and a half in operation, the Moda workshop was not doing as well as Sergei and Olga had expected. Profit levels were low, business was unsteady, and the work climate in the shop was tense. “I’ve checked the accounting records and financial statements and I really don’t understand why our profit margins are so low. I have a big suspicion Igor is stealing money from the business and manipulating the accounting records,” Olga said.
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