Safargul Tagoynazarova, a 50-year-old taylor, feels her life has been largely affected by COVID-19 despite the fact that none of her family members have been infected. Her economic situation has become less secure, her work shifts longer, and her worries for the family are on the rise.
“My husband and son-in-law, who are in migration, lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the spread of COVID-19. Now I am working days and nights since I am the only breadwinner at home,” she tells her story on the phone to the sound of the sewing machine on the background.
Safargul has joined Bonuvoni Panj, a member of the One Village One Product Association supported by UNDP to improve livelihood in rural areas of Tajikistan by engaging women in paid labor force, in 2015. She had gone through many difficulties and the extra income to the family budget was certainly a nice bonus, but her primary reason to join the sewing workshop at 46 was socialization.
“In the first months of joining the workshop, I could not imagine what a significant role this organization and people working here would play in my life. I haven’t broken mentally and financially in any difficult life situation thanks to Bonuvoni Panj,” says Safargul grateful to the social interaction and support she gets here.
Now, at least for a while more, her job will remain the only source of income for the family in Tajikistan, while a part of this family remains stranded in Russia. Her only daughter, who also lives with Safargul, has to stay home to take care of her children.
Despite the difficulties, Safargul’s voice remains lively and cheerful. The grandmother of four is proud of the work she is doing particularly at times of COVID-19: The administration of Bonuvoni Panj has decided that instead of shutting down due to lack of demand for their products, they would repurposed the sewing workshop to produce PPE for healthcare workers in Khatlon at a more affordable price than imported packages.
To date the Organization has released 4,000 medical face masks and more than 55 disposable medical protective suits which meet the state standard requirements.
“We cannot stay aside while entire medical staff is risking their lives, seeing patients with Covid-19 and still have lack of accessible protective clothes, and we are so proud that we can join the efforts to try to somehow support our community in these difficult days,” Kunduzoi Usmonova, the founder and director of the workshop, says.
UNDP has launched a full-fledged research to study the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on lives and livelihoods of people in Tajikistan. The research findings will help UNDP shape its further economic development programme in the country.
Bonuvoni Panj is a part of the One Village One Product (OVOP) Association established under UNDP LITACA project, funded by the Government of Japan.