Mavriya can provide for herself

Mavriya was a child with a disability, so all the odds were against her. But then she started attending Mission East’s rehabilitation centre, and today the young Tajik woman is running her own small business.

By Hilola Ashurova, Mission East Tajikistan & Kim Wiesener, Communication Manager – June 2018

20-year-old Mavriya is a cheerful young woman from the town of Penjakent in Tajikistan. She is good at sewing and knitting and runs her own small business where she makes and sells dolls and pillows. Her products are popular, and Mavriya has many customers. Her earnings enable her to make a considerable contribution to her family’s household budget.

As a child, Mavriya could certainly not look forward to such a good and productive life. She is born with cerebral palsy – a muscle and motor skill disorder caused by brain damage – which from the outset excluded her from Tajik society, where people with disabilities often live in isolation. Having a child with disabilities has traditionally been a source of great shame in Tajikistan. But during the last decade, Mission East and several local organisations have worked together to help Tajik children and youth with disabilities, and this has affected the general attitudes of the population.

Substantial progress  

Mavriya’s life changed when she was a teenager and began attending Mission East’s rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities in Penjakent. Her motor skills improved, it became easier for her to communicate with people around her, and she made new friends.

After a few months, Mission East and the Parents’ Association for children with disabilities in Penjakent succeeded in enrolling Mavriya in a local school. Her classmates helped her learn how to read and write, and since then, she has made substantial progress. Thanks to one of Mission East’s partner organisations, Nuri Umed, Mavriya learned how to sew and knit. She became so proficient that she can now earn an income because of her skills. Furthermore, as a volunteer, she now passes on her knowledge at the very centre that has meant so much for her development. She assists one of the teachers during knitting classes and enjoys visiting the centre because she has many friends there.

Grateful for the support

The young woman is grateful for the support she received from Mission East. “Thank you for helping me to be among the people in my community and learn some skills. If there were no people like you, and no rehabilitation centre, I would never have achieved what I have now.”

Mavriya’s mother, Herod, is also happy that her daughter – despite her disability – has prospered. “I can see how Mavriya has developed as a person. She is independent; she has her own business which she really likes. And she has become more open and can communicate with other people without problems.”


Political support to persons with disabilities

On the 22nd of March 2018 Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is an important recognition of human rights and a huge step towards full inclusion of people with disabilities in Tajik society and on the labour market.