A Survivor’s Success Story: Sadafmo Rahmatova
Tajikistan is one of the 26 State Parties to sign the Mine Ban Treaty with a significant number of mine survivors and “with greatest responsibility to act, but also the greatest needs and expectations for assistance” in providing adequate services for the care, rehabilitation and reintegration of survivors (First Review Conference, Nairobi, 2005).
One of more than 800 Tajik landmine victims, Rahmatova Sadafmo is a 32-year-old woman living in the small mountainous village of Dashtijum on the Tajik-Afghan border. She lost her leg in a tragic landmine accident on her wedding day. She went through four surgical operations and received her first prosthesis with ICRC support in Baku. Her husband divorced her and she is bringing up her small son alone. Her disability pension coupled with child allowance is not sufficient to support her and her son.
“It was one of the happiest days of my life, but due to landmine contamination it became a misfortune,” Rahmatova Sadafmo’s father remembers, recalling the day his 18-year-old daughter was married.
- Annual rehabilitation camps to provide psychological and social support to landmine survivors and other PWD reached more than 200 survivors and PWD
- Direct income generation and socio-economic support was provided to 500 survivors and their family members
- Advocacy campaign in favor of signing and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities resulted in the signing of the plan of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights Persons with Disabilitiesby the President of the Republic of Tajikistan in May 2013
In the midst of these life-changing events, Sadafmo became very depressed, even talking to her family about suicide. Fortunately, at that time Sadafmo was invited to participate in a summer rehabilitation camp for survivors in 2006. She later participated several times in summer rehabilitation camp activities organized by UNDP/TMAC in cooperation with its partners – the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population (MLSPP), Tajikistan Red Crescent Society (TajRCS), the NGO called Tajikistan Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions and the society of persons with disabilities, Imkoniyat. In this summer camp she received physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and made new friends. After individual and group psychology sessions and art therapy, she regained a positive outlook on life. By socializing with other survivors, she regained her confidence and learned that she wasn’t the only mine victim. Meetings and roundtables with representatives of the MLSPP taught her about the rights of persons with disabilities, degrees of disability, pensions and privileges.
UNDP also mobilized resources to provide Sadafmo with a new sewing machine. She received business training from a special boarding school for young persons with disabilities in Dushanbe where she attended a basic six-month training course in 2007 and graduated from a three-month dressmaking training course organized by the Association for Aid and Relief (Japan) in 2010.
Sadafmo now makes custom-designed women’s wear for neighbors in her community and clothes using national embroidery patterns. She specializes in napkins, pillowcases, bed sheets and dresses, Tajik women usually wear at home and in public. Now she can support her economic needs and reduce her social vulnerability. Her son helps her with housework that is difficult for her, such as collecting water from the river, buying things from the market and gathering wood.
At the closing ceremony of the dressmaking course, Sadafmo said: “With the support of the UNDP/TMAC and its partners I continued my education and became a good specialist. It is very important to feel that I am part of society. Now I have the chance to increase my income and my life has changed for the better. I can take care of my son and provide the best future for him. I am very grateful for everything you have done!”
Taking into account the positive results, these kinds of income generating projects targeting individuals were scaled up. Since 2005 in total more than 500 survivors and victims’ families received various income generating support through the activities of TMAC in cooperation with its partners. TMAC encouraged the Communities Programme UNDP to include landmine and other ERW survivors in their activities. More than 100 survivors and their families have already benefitted from various types of income-generating assistance through this collaboration.