Women and energy poverty on the Roof of the World

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Окт 24 2017

“Little Earth” is implementing a project “Clean energy and women on the Roof of the World”. Within the project 20 women from two high-mountain Pamir villages (Nisur and Ruhch) take part in capacity building training and green energy workshops and will get sustainable energy devices to improve their livelihood.

By helping families to improve quality of life, “Little Earth” also reduces burden to fragile mountain ecosystems. We would like to thank the US Forest Service for support of our initiative. Below you can find the stories of women participating in the project and learn about difficulties they face in everyday life.

Surayo Shabonova, Nisur village

My name is Surayo Shabonova. I am 27, I live in remote mountain village in Bartang Valley - Nisur. My family consists of 5 people – my mother, father and two sisters. I am fully responsible for care of our household since one of my sisters has been enrolled at the university and another one got married. Our family is poor and after graduation from school I could not continue my study at university. My day starts early morning and lasts up to dusk. Besides looking after the household, I also have to stock the firewood and teresken (local bush).

I have to walk a distance of 10 - 30 kilometers in order to collect and bring a cord of bush. We spend a lot of time to stock firewood. We deal with this mainly in autumn and spring. It appears that we collect wood almost on a daily basis for four months in a year.

I visited the neighbors, who use the solar parabolic cooker. It significantly lightened their daily life. Thanks to solar cooker they save a plenty of firewood and time for its collection. If I would have such device, I would use saved time to knit and sell jurabs (local woolen socks).With this extra money I would also help my sister who is studying now.

Ojatbegim Gulomshoeva, Nisur village

I am Ojatbegim Gulomshoeva and I am 44 years old. My family has 7 members: husband, two daughters and three sons. My husband and one of my sons left to earn money abroad. Daughters are students. There are only me and my disabled daughter at home. I have to look after the house. Only in summer, when the children return home, they help me with the housework. Due to hard life my health has worsened five years ago. I was carrying and still have to carry heavy cords of teresken, passing dozens kilometers. Now I often feel pain in knees and back.

Last autumn my brother helped with the collection of firewood. I would have failed without him. If I had a solar cooker, I would avoid frequent tours for firewood and carrying such weights, I would have more time for rest and treatment. I hope our family will get such helper within the framework of this project.

Sohib Shikorieva, Ruhch village

My name is Sohib Shikorieva. I was born in Kudara village. After graduation from school I could not enroll high school since my family didn’t have funds for it. I got married and moved to Ruhch village in Bartang Valley. Now I am 29. There are four people in our family – me, my husband and two children. My son Navoi is 7 years old, and his sister Garibsulton is 4. Often in winter time parents of my husband and their grandchildren live with us. Usually I am the one who takes care of the household. My husband is often out of home for earnings.

My day starts early in the morning and lasts until darkness. Cleaning, cooking, supporting the children and other housework leave me no time for myself. In addition to that I shall collect and bring home the firewood. It takes a lot of time and energy. We do it mainly in spring and autumn. I walk a distance of 10—30 kilometers to collect and bring cords of wood back home. I have to leave children with relatives or neighbors. There is almost no bush around our Ruhch village. Now the residents are forced to collect teresken in the land that belongs to the neighboring village. Its population is not happy with this and sometimes they have quarrels with us.

Few years ago our neighbor got a solar parabolic cooker from “Little Earth”. Thanks to solar cooker now she saves a lot of wood and time. We visit her often to use this device. If I would have such helper I will spend more time with children.

Davlatbegim Sulaymonshoeva, Ruhch village

I am Davlatbegim Sulaymonshoeva and I live in Ruhch village of Savnob jamoat, Rushan district. My family is not big. It consists of my husband, my son and daughter and me. Now children study in the primary school. My daughter has disability. She has a problem with her leg. She gets 250 Tajik Somoni every month from the state as the disability allowance. My husband and I are unemployed. Husband has to frequently leave us to find short-term jobs. I am the main person who does the housework. Only when relatives come to visit us in summer time I feel less overwhelmed because they help me.

It is very difficult to collect and carry the firewood for dozens kilometers. I often feel pain in knees and back. We have no access to grid and electricity in our village. The community doesn’t fully recover after earthquake occurred in December 2015. I hope, with help from “Little Earth” we will get solar cooker and solar lantern. Then we will save the firewood and I will be able to knit the jurabs for sale at the evenings (local woolen socks).

Timur Idrisov, Anton Timoshenko
“Little Earth”