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EWA Tajikistan: Sewing centre provides work opportunities for Tajik women

A story of WECF's partner ASDP NAU

22.09.2014 |WECF

Who are the local partners of WECF? We introduce them, so the work of these organisations will be better known. This time we would like to present ASDP NAU from Tajikistan.

Zilola is one of the people that were helped by ASDP NAU. She is now the leader of the Women Development Centre ‘Zebo’ in the Jabbar Rasulov district of Sughd region, Jamoat Gulakandoz. Zilola tells her personal story of the impact ASDP NAU had on her life and how she ended up within the framework of the EWA programme.

Zilola: “My actual profession is teacher, but in 2007 I started sewing. I worked with two other women and we sew bedclothes and clothes for kids and women in my place. Two years later there were six seamstresses and ten students who wanted to gain sewing skills.

In 2010 the Women Development Centre (WDC) ‘Zebo’ was created within the framework of the ASDP NAU project and I was selected as leader. Two new sewing machines were given to us and we also received a grant of $1000, - from ASDP NAU. With the beginning of that year we started to sew ‘Suzana’, a national panel that is a necessity for a bride.

ASDP NAU provided trainings for twenty women in 2011 to educate them in the skills of sewing. That year we also started to work with the Employment Centre in our region.  We had to teach sewing techniques to around 25 unemployed and uneducated women below the age of 40. The Employment Centre provided scholarships for the women and gave out a certificate to those women who were qualified to work as a seamstress. By getting a diploma women can work in Russia or work in factories.

On 28th June our tenth group completed the craft training of the national arts.
Our WDC, with the help of ASDP NAU, registered our project in 2014 at the programme REC of USAID and we received a grant of $35000,-. We plan to spend $10000, - on sewing machines and in September we will organize an International Fair Exhibition. For this exhibition we will invite handicrafts women from Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Uzbekistan.

Last year we signed a memorandum with a delegation from Afghanistan and from this September on we will export bedclothes to the country.

Our WDC is now a place where women can gain sewing skills and where they can receive training on issues as women leadership, gender, business planning, budgeting and other subjects that are important for our members. Within the framework of the EWA programme several trainings were provided which helped women to understand the concept of gender and to gain knowledge about women leadership tools. Now the women who received these trainings have the skills to provide leadership trainings to other communities.

Our women also went on an exchange visit to YEC in Dushanbe within the EWA programme. This visit was a useful and unforgettable experience for the women. I want to point out that none of these women had ever left their region before. This was their first trip. On behalf of them members of WDC I want to say thanks to the WECF and the project staff.

At present time there are seventeen women working in our department. We are energetically participating in competitions and other activities which take place in our or other districts, regions and within the republic. Nowadays we are members of the Chamber of Commerce of Tajikistan.

We are sincerely grateful to ASDP NAU since they selected us for that project.
Currently we are delivering school uniforms for schoolchildren. More than 1000 students bought our uniforms so far.

Seven years ago I could not even imagine that I can achieve so much. If every woman knows what she wants and knows how to achieve success, then I believe there will be more successful women. And these women can then assist other women in need of help. Like Saboat did for example. She opened a WDC in her village after her exchange visit to Dushanbe. Now around 20-25 women are busy with the waving of carpets.

My dream is now to create a big sewing fabric called ‘Zebo’ and to create more workplaces with the help of organizations and grants.

I would like to invite you to our village, especially to our WDC, so you can see with your own eyes our activities.”

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