From July 25 to July 27, 2023, a group of 10 women participating in the project "Sustainable use of natural resources and participation of women in the mountain communities of Yaghnob" visited various public organizations, craft workshops and educational institutions that operate in Anzob, Ayni and Penjikent.
“We organized this study tour in order to provide an opportunity for our project participants to establish professional contacts with local organizations working in the field of women's support, tourism development, promotion of local business initiatives, etc.,” says Anton Timoshenko, executive director of the Little Earth.
During the first day, the group visited the “Bibichon” guest house combined with a small handicraft workshop (created with the help of the Zarafshan Tourism Development Association), the “Kuhsor” public organization in Aini, whose work is aimed at support for women, children and the disabled, as well as a handicraft workshop "Mukarrama" that produce national carpets and clothes, where they were shown local products and the materials from which they are made.
“Thanks to this trip, we visited various workshops for the production of national carpets and clothes. We saw the traditional socks that our grandmothers made. But our generation has stopped doing this, we have lost this knowledge and skills. The trip inspired us to study the experience of our ancestors. The most interesting thing is that all the products that we saw were made from natural materials,” says Rakhmatzoda Surayo, a project participant from the village of Makhtimain.
On the second day, women made visits to organizations and institutions in Penjikent. So, in the virus center "Buzurg" (a public organization), the participants of the tour were told about the activities center carries out to prevent the spread of various diseases, including hepatitis and others. Then the group went to the Department of Labor and Employment of the Population (a branch of the state institution "Tajik Center for Adult Education"), where they were able to take part in a lecture on canning fruits and vegetables. The participants were later welcomed to the “Nuri Umed” - single women's support center.
In Penjikent, an excursion to the Republican Museum of local history was also organized for the participants. Its collection includes thousands of items and exhibits, including archaeological, ethnographic, numismatic collections, as well as handwritten books of the 18th-19th centuries, copper products, ancient weapons, photographic and documentary materials on the history of the region. Women from Yaghnob visited the museum for the first time in their lives. This visit gave them positive emotions and unforgettable impressions.
“When we attended the course on the preparation of juices and jams, I thought that we should start planting fruit trees. We are mainly engaged in small-scale cattle breeding and the manufacture of kurut (dry fermented milk product from dried suzma). We buy fruits and berries in the district center. It would be good to grow and conserve them in our villages. In general, the trip was very informative. I was especially impressed by the museum,” Sodikova Idimokh, a young project participant from the village of Makhtimain, shares her opinion.
On the third day, the participants of the tour arrived in the mountain village of Vota, Aini region. Here they were able to meet with local activists who last year, with the support of the Little Earth, set up an orchard, planting more than 350 seedlings. Of the total number of seedlings planted, 90% were fruit trees (apple, peach, plum, apricot) and 10% non-bearing (poplar and willow).
“Without any exaggeration, we can say that such events open up the world for mountain women. Almost all of our tour participants for the first time in their lives left their valley and visited Ayni and Penjikent. The study tour helped them not only to get new information and contacts, but also broke their isolation, broadened their horizons and enriched them with new impressions,” says Timur Idrisov, senior adviser to the Little Earth and the initiator of the tour.
The project "Sustainable use of natural resources and women's participation in mountain communities of Yaghnob" is implemented by the Little Earth with the support of Forum CIV with the assistance of the Swedish partner Centralasiengrupperna.