Clean energy, women-run sewing workshop opens in Tajikistan


A sewing mini-workshop powered by renewable energy opened this month in the remote, high mountain village of Nisur in Bartang Valley, Tajikistan. The workshop allows local women to earn money while providing sewing services to the community.

Before the project, village residents had to go to the administrative centre for clothes, such as to purchase a wedding outfit. The new workshop presents a local alternative that is more convenient and more affordable.

The village has no electricity, so an alternative energy source was necessary. Little Earth installed the solar energy equipment to power the workshop. The workshop now has two electric sewing machines with which the women can provide an essential service to their local community. The organization also installed energy-efficient lighting so that the women can work without damaging their eyesight.

Nisur resident Odzhieva Lola owns and operates the sewing mini-workshop. Lola has been sewing traditional clothing and carpets for many years. For this project, she allocated a room of her own home.

The creation of the sewing workshop is one of the activities of Little Earth’s project "Clean energy and women on the roof of the world", of which Lola is a participant. The project, supported by the United States Forest Service, works in a number of ways to support women from vulnerable families of Tajikistan’s Pamir region.

“I used to use an old, manual sewing machine. There was no lighting; I had to work with a kerosene lamp or a small lantern. I have long dreamed of acquiring an automatic sewing machine and did not even imagine that this would ever come true. Now, thanks to the project … I have got my own sewing mini-workshop,” says Lola.

Lola and one of her friends will be the first to work in the new sewing business. If they begin making a profit, she plans to hire one or two more women to work part-time in the workshop.

Not only does the workshop meet the needs of the mountain community and employs clean energy, but it also empowers local women to become more financially stable.

Executive Director of Little Earth Anton Timoshenko says, “It’s important for us not only to distribute renewable energy sources in mountain communities and demonstrate their benefits - we pay special attention to women by involving them in the natural resources management, building their capacity and supporting initiatives such as this ‘solar’ sewing mini-workshop.”

News and photo from Little Earth, Timur Idrisov & Anton Timoshenko

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