Do not give up, do not stop before difficulties, work hard and seek support from organizations such as Accelerate Prosperity
Afsona is one of the most famous and sought-after seamstresses of the Jaikhun district of Khatlon region. Afsona has been passionate about sewing since she was a little girl sewing clothes for her dolls. With time, her desire to improve her craft only became stronger and Afsona began to learn to sew from local seamstresses and even take orders. Once she advanced her skills, Afsona began to take more orders but over time it became inconvenient to work at home - "Those customers who already knew about me and ordered tailoring brought their friends. The customer base began to expand, and I no longer had time to take orders at home or work alone. This was the reason for opening our own sewing workshop." In 2019, Afsona applied for participation in the AP program and successfully completed the entire program cycle within the framework of the project "Support for Cooperation and Opportunities for Regional Economic Development" (SCORED), funded by the European Union (EU) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF). During the program, Afsona gained extensive knowledge of the basics of business, studied the financial model of doing business, all the nuances of paying taxes and possible risks. The resulting investments allowed her to purchase more sewing machines and hire additional workers. Currently, the store cooperates with 26 schools and produces more than 6,000 sets of school uniforms annually, which is six times more than before the cooperation with AP. Orders are also accepted for sewing national dresses and dresses for brides and bridesmaids, which, considering local customs and traditions, is a profitable business. AP conducted a survey to assess the needs of supported enterprises within the framework of the SCORED project to determine what post-investment technical assistance needs to be provided. As part of this initiative, Afsona was given the opportunity to take advanced training courses with a well-known designer in Dushanbe in June 2022, thanks to which she will be able to sew suits and European-style clothes. This will expand the list of services and capabilities of the workshop. With the growing demand for her products, Afsona plans to build a new building for her store, which will create new jobs for women who want to learn sewing skills. "Before the investment from AP, there were two jobs in the sewing workshop. With the support of AP, we bought six sewing machines, and the number of jobs increased to eight." – says Afsona.