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The Good Women of Garm
by Mahina Abdllojonova, Tillovat Abdurasullova, Manzura Giyoeva & Nasiba Mirzoeva

We are four girls who study English through the English Access Micro Scholarship Program in the Rasht Valley, Tajikistan. Our names are Mahina, Manzura, Nasiba and Tillovat and we are 14 to 16 years of age. We would like to introduce Azizah readers to five prominent women in our community, but first let us describe our beautiful and historic region in Central Tajikistan.

There are steep mountains with high pastures outlined by rugged snow capped peaks. The town of Garm is settled on the banks of the Surkhob River with its red waters and 14 neighboring villages settled higher up on the mountain slopes. The people have beautiful vegetable gardens and bountiful fruit trees. Many people raise animals such as cows, goats and sheep.

In Garm, there are many small businesses and an open-air market where we buy our food and clothing supplies. There is a Pedagogical University, a Medical and a Technical College and many schools for the children. The highway that runs along the river through the center of the Rasht Valley is a trade route from Kyrgyzstan to Dushanbe, our country’s capitol.

For this article, we interviewed five prominent women in our community in order to practice our English language and journalism skills. We first interviewed each woman in the Tajik language, summarized the information in Tajik, and then translated it into English.

Matluba Rajabaljeva
She is the chairman of the Development Centre of Garm, a non-governmental organization (NGO). This organization was established in 2001 with the support of the United Nations Development Program and is now supported by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Ms. Rajabaljeva told us her organization is a “resource center for women” which provides numerous services for the women of Garm, Tojikobod, and the neighboring villages.

Savriniso Hafizova Khairulloevna
She is a licensed physician of internal medicine. Ms. Khairulloevna related to us that when the civil war in Tajikistan was over in 1993, there were few doctors and no medicine to treat the sick people. She realized that she could treat people with the herbs growing in the local mountains.
Using her knowledge, Ms. Khairulloevna first taught women to use the herbs in a tea and then later as an ingredient in the traditional foods. Over time, she saw that the herbs brought good results.

Satorova Lojvarbe
She works as an anesthesiology nurse in the operating room at the local hospital. She loves her work, especially the obstetric cases where she can assist women who are afraid of the difficulty of giving birth. Ms. Lojvarbe also trains young medical students during their time of residency at the hospital. She told us that she would like to see more girls enter the medical occupation.

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