Promoting inclusive social development in Karakalpakstan: We're In It Together

Mar 17, 2015

It is a well-known that people with disabilities are more likely to become economically disadvantaged than people without a disability. Among other factors lack of access to funds is considered as a major obstacle for establishing business opportunities for people with a disability. Thus, the vast majority of people with a disability are unable to reach their potential, remain dependent on families for support and are denied the opportunity to contribute to the community’s development.

Last Friday, on March 13, in Nukus city, the opening inauguration of a sewing workshop within the Society of the Disabled people was held. Launching the project enabled that 10 women and girls with disabilities are now employed at the sewing workshop. They can now increase their skills and render services to the neighbouring population and in turn improve their economic situation in the long run. Most importantly, the project strongly motivates vulnerable people to feel that they can be active to do something useful for the society.

One of them, Kudaibergenova Anisa is a deaf sewer. She says “I love sewing and applied for a number of sewing workshops to work and finally was accepted by this workshop. I have been sewing here more than a month and already produced several women’s dresses with my own design. Most importantly, I have met several wonderful new friends here and my life became more interesting. Making profit is not my primary goal, rather I am overwhelmed by communicating with people and seeing happy faces of customers who purchase my products”.

The establishment of this workshop is the result of cooperation of the number of governmental, NGO and UNDP projects (UN Joint Programme and Business Forum of Uzbekistan Phase 2) , which were brought together by the UN Joint Programme that once again was able to promote the integrated approach and social partnership to benefit the vulnerable groups. The project has provided all necessary equipment to start up a new business including sewing equipment, accessories, furniture and several types of fabrics as well as increased capacity of staff.  

Chairwomen of Karakalpak Republican society of disabled people Ms. Parshagul Dauletyarova said: “We feel ourselves less disabled from day to day, as we are all now fully engaged in sewing work. The sewing workshop is now working at the experimental basis and it is doing very well, and I am confident it will be one of the busiest for serving people workshops in Karakalpakstan in near future”.

During the inauguration of the workshop, attended by the representatives of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Labor Union, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor, Women’s Committee, Society of deaf people, Business Women Association, independent institute for monitoring the formation of civil society regional department in Karakalpakstan, UN Joint Programme and mass media, it was highlighted that creating opportunity for disabled women and girls to work and earn additional income is important.

Ms. Nazira Elibaeva, the executive director of the Business Women Association branch in Karakalpakstan, that has been cooperating with UNDP in rural microfinacing for a long time, indicated that – “Sewers of the new workshop  can use and enjoy the availability of literature and video materials on business development by visiting the BWA office’s library  and that the BWA is ready to provide necessary further capacity building support to women and girls of this newly opened workshop”.

There are many successful examples like this joint initiative, which highlights the contribution of people with a disability to the workforce and local economies. It is important to support the inclusion of people with a disability in all livelihood areas, including formal employment, income generation projects, skills development and access to loans and financial services, where the role of social partnership is crucial.  The  “Sustaining Livelihoods Affected by the Aral Sea Disaster” implemented by five UN Agencies (UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNV, WHO) and Government of Uzbekistan in Karakalpakstan was launched in June 2012, and since then it has supported over hundred business and social projects, where 45% of them were initiated by women and girls. These projects contribute to the development of entrepreneurial skills of women, ensuring self-employment and the creation of additional sources of income.

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