Energy poverty has a woman’s face

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Окт 24 2017

Without exaggeration it could be said that energy poverty has a woman’s face. Every day women encounter the consequences of limited access to modern energy sources. They give birth to children in darkness, work in kitchens full of smoke and risk their life while collecting firewood in the mountains.

Lack of access to modern energy services and cleaner technologies costs them time, efforts and resources that women could have spent on education, family or self-development. Meanwhile, women can become driving-force of changes for the better. Read the stories of women from two high- mountain villages of Bartang Valley - participants of the project “Clean energy – sustainable communities”.

Gulanor Shikorieva, Barchidiv village

My name is Gulanor Shikorieva and I am 21. I was born in Barchidiv village in Bartang Valley. I graduated from school in neighboring Nisur village. Then I started my study at Faculty of biology in the university situated in our regional center, Khorog. I would like to be a teacher in a rural school. We have five family members - father, mother, brother, sister and me. My brother and sister are older than me, but only I was enrolled at the university. My brother worked in Russia for several years. He supported parents as well as funded my study. Older sister also helped me a lot to successfully graduate from the university.

Nobody has a permanent job in our family. We don’t have enough funds to buy firewood or coal. When we were younger, mother was collecting the firewood. Now she is sick. All the housework including cooking, cleaning and taking care of livestock is done by me and my sister. In addition, we have to deal with the collection of firewood. We spend couple of hours and walk 10-15 kilometers to get to the place where you can still find the bush we use as firewood. In fall and spring we spend a plenty of time to stock fuel for winter and to replenish its reserves.

Few years ago, thanks to “Little Earth”, our neighbor got a solar cooker under “50% to 50%” scheme (half of cost of the goods was covered by project and another by the buyer). She uses it continuously and is very happy with it. She says that it helps to save a lot of firewood and time. With their permission, we also occasionally use this facility. I and my family would like to have such cooker. It will help us a lot.

Shogun Davlatmirova, Barchidiv village

My name is Shogun Davlatmirova. I am from Barchidiv village. My family consists of 8 members: father-in-law, husband, me and five sons. My older son has been admitted to Khorog University. Two other study in primary school. My husband and I are unemployed. He does occasional work to earn some money and I am dealing with housework.

We have small hydropower station in the village, but its capacity is not enough for heating or cooking. As all our neighbors, we have to collect teresken far away from home and to carry the cords with firewood on our backs. I visited my relatives in Nisur and Roshorv and saw that they have the “miracle cooker” that can be used to cook just with the power of sun. I am dreaming on having such solar cooker for a long time, but we cannot afford it. I hope that with the help of this project my family can get such device. If I would have this cooker, I wouldn't need to go often to collect firewood and carry such loads, and would have more time for rest and family.

Oina Alayorova, Yapshorv village

I am a resident of Yapshorv village. My name is Oina Allayorova and I am 42 years old. In the 1990-ties I got married to a very good and hardworking man. Despite the hard times and difficulties, we have got two children. We worked as shepherds during those difficult years. But one day my husband got seriously sick and soon died.

Now our family consists of three people – me, my daughter - student and a son, who is a pupil. I deal with homework from early morning until dusk. I need to clean, cook, take care of children and look after the garden. Collection of firewood takes a lot of time and efforts. Sometimes I don’t have even couple of hours to rest. In the past bushes grew up on the outskirts of the village, but people cut it off over the years and now we have to collect teresken far from home. Every day it's getting harder for me to do the housework. Now I am getting sick more often. It is good that during the holidays my children help me.

Last year I was in Nisur village and saw people using solar parabolic cookers and, save a lot of firewood. After coming back to Yapshorv I shared this information with neighbors, but they didn't believe me. I would like to have one of those devises, because my son will soon be a student and will rarely stay at home. And with solar cooker I will get my own assistant and more time for additional income.

Zainab Alayorova, Yapshorv village

My name is Zainab Alayorova and I live in mountain village of Yapshorv in Savnob jamoat. After graduation from secondary school I stayed at home. I didn’t apply for the university. It happened that I got married to a very honest and competent person although he had no high education. My husband worked in a geological expedition, and I have worked in the farm. After the USSR collapse we faced the most difficult years.

Now we have nine family members. One daughter already graduated from Khorog State University and got high education. Second daughter is now studying at the same university. Other children attend primary and secondary school. Husband earns little money, and I look after the household. In summer daughters and sons come home on vacations and help me. The main issue for our family is getting enough fuel for heating the house and cooking. It is very hard to carry heavy cords of firewood for dozens kilometers every day. I often have pain in knees and back.

I really want our family to have a solar cooker and solar lantern. Then I wouldn't have to go often to collect firewood, and during evenings I can knit or read. I think that it would make our lives better. I'm also interested to attend the seminar because I never took part in any.

Timur Idrisov, Anton Timoshenko
“Little Earth”