Talents Rising: A Tajik Seamstress Designs a Path to Security

Speeches Shim

From suffering and despair to success
Davlatoy Beknazarova at her sewing job
Women’s Entrepreneurship for Empowerment Project
Business training and profitable endeavors follow years of despair
“I participated in training and learnt to earn money, and now I train other women on sewing skills.”

May 2017—Davlatoy Beknazarova and her family live in a small village in Tajikistan’s Khatlon province, where her sewing skills are setting her on the path to success as a businesswoman. After attending a brief training course on how women can become entrepreneurs, she put her talents to work for her.

In 2001, Beknazarova’s husband was sentenced to 13 years in prison. For eight years, Beknazarova lived with her husband’s parents and her two small children. But in 2009, she moved back in with her mother and father, and, while she sold pies, she left her children with her mother. She didn’t make much money, and her brothers’ wives, who also lived in the house, were unkind.

Finally, Beknazarova started sewing at home, earning money by making clothes, pillows and traditional mattresses for her neighbors. In 2013, her husband was released from prison.

In early 2016, through focus groups, USAID’s Women’s Entrepreneurship for Empowerment Project selected Beknazarova to participate in a three-day training course along with 14 other women and girls from the district. The project, implemented by the National Association of Business Women of Tajikistan, empowers women who are currently unemployed to start their own businesses in various spheres.

Beknazarova participated in the business startup training and showed a great desire to learn, attending trainings on patchwork and professional development as well as business fairs and exhibitions held throughout the country.

She is now known for her high-quality wallets, handbags and patchwork, which she sells to neighbors and at exhibitions and fairs in nearby cities. Each month, she earns $100 from sewing and is confident she can earn more if she works harder.

The USAID project, which runs from October 2014 to September 2017, also invited Beknazarova to attend their Training for Trainers, where she learned to train other women in the same skills. In February 2017, Beknazarova held a six-day patchwork training for the first time for 15 housewives and dressmakers and received a salary of $240.

“Thanks to Women’s Entrepreneurship for Empowerment project, I participated in training and learnt to earn money, and now I train other women on sewing skills,” she said, expressing her gratitude for the project that has allowed her to take the first steps in business.

Today, Beknazarova and her husband consider themselves happy and peaceful, and they recently organized a wedding party for their elder daughter. Beknazarova’s next goal is to open her own sewing shop in her village.


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