Making face masks for rural communities in Tajikistan

8 months ago Web Desk 0

According to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), Roziyamo Kabirova leads a women’s group that usually sews school uniforms and other items of clothing for a living. But these days, Roziyamo and her group of nine seamstresses are sewing cloth face masks instead. While there have been no cases of COVID-19 in Vrang village to date, Roziyamo believes that she and her community need to be prepared for it.

 

“I first heard about COVID-19 on TV in early March and then again through neighbors. But back then, we didn’t think it would come to Tajikistan. Sadly, by April, the Government declared cases in our country, too,” said Roziyamo.

 

When the Government sent out a call for organizations to produce masks for the country’s use, Roziyamo and her team wanted to pitch in. “We didn’t know how to make face masks or have the right fabric. But we knew masks [would] help with stopping the spread of the virus so we wanted to learn how to make them,” shared Roziyamo.

 

Through Thrive Tajikistan: Partnership for Socio-Economic Development, a program of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Roziyamo’s team received a grant, the training to produce face masks according to international quality standards and materials like fabric, threads and elastic bands.

 

Thrive Tajikistan also helped Roziyamo get a license from the Government of Tajikistan to sell the masks they produce to the general public.

 

By the beginning of May, Roziyamo and her team were all set and had started making 150 face masks a day. By the beginning of June, they had already made 5,500 masks. “The demand for masks is greater than the supply. It’s also not easy to find masks that are for sale. And when they are available, a mask usually costs anywhere between 5–7 somonis (US$ 0.44 – US$ 0.62) while we are selling them for only 3 somonis (US$ 0.27) each,” adds Roziyamo.

 

Thrive Tajikistan partners with communities across 16 districts in GBAO and Khatlon province along Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan. The program helps people improve their quality of life by catalyzing small and growing businesses, improving access to financial services and strengthening local governance.

 

Source: Asia Plus