Khusnora Elmurodova, a schoolgirl from a small village in the Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan solved a water supply problem in conjunction with her neighbors. There was no water in the village for over 40 years, but thanks to local female activists and socially responsible business, the problem has gone.
In pursuit of water
The Urtakishlak village of Zaamin district is made up of 85 households with 1,500 people. The vast majority of the population are women, who raise livestock and poultry. Many men have left for work in Zaamin or other big towns, and even moved abroad.
As all the domestic duties have been placed on the women’s shoulders, children have found themselves as the only helpers to their moms. Usually, young children help mothers by doing all the chores while teenagers are engaged in conducting more complicated duties.
The most unpleasant duty was fetching water from the neighboring village on a distance of several kilometers, according to Khusnora Elmurodova, a 9th-grade schoolgirl.
There was no water in Urtakishlak for decades. All trees in the village died and villagers often argued about water with their neighbors.
“Water is necessary for life. It’s never easy to live with a deficit of water. It was painful to watch women and children going every day for water with buckets and donkeys as transportation. Worst of all, these efforts were for nothing as our gardens got wizened every summer,” said Shirin Mamatkulova, a local resident.
Many times women from Urtakishlak asked for help from local authorities. Khusnora Elmurodova was always an active participant in these endeavors.
Her dream is to work as a journalist, so the girl published a lot of posts on the issue on social media. The main sticking point was money, as $30,000 was needed to solve the problem, so the local women decided to ask for help from businesses.
One of the biggest employers and taxpayers in both the Zaamin district and the entire Jizzakh region is Artel Electronics, which has an electrical cable factory in the town. The entity provides jobs for 250 locals and has actively participated in the public life of the district. When Urtakishlak residents had heard that the factory helped their neighbors to fix the roof and heating system in School #3, they wrote a petition and sent it to the company.
“We had discussed the issue with our executives and they agreed to help. We decided to drill in Urtakishlak an artesian well 200 meters deep. As a result, this summer the problem that people struggled with for over 40 years has finally been solved. We fixed that problem over 20 days,” said Ikrom Tursunov, Head of Artel Electronics in Zaamin.
Now people of Urtakishlak have considered June 18, 2021, as the second birth of their village.
“Water is a symbol of life for us. Our gardens will thrive once again and women and children won’t fetch water from far away. We are happy now because we can keep our homes clean,” said Malika Talipova, head of the village community assembly.
When the new artesian well started to operate, the factory received many more requests from local residents to help them to solve various problems. Now the company plans to drill another well in Urtakishlak as locals asked for.
“We hope that this case will excite entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan to do the same. Today we all have an opportunity to run a business, receive some benefits and increase its profitability. Therefore, we’ve decided to apply some funds to charity and different social projects. For instance, we’ve been supporting 20 low-income families and families with no breadwinner for four years now. We provide them with food products and financial aid. We also help support another five families to prepare for cold winters and have will provide financial aid to a further five families celebrating life events this year,” said Tursunov.
In October, Artel managers went to Urtakishlak to have a meeting with Khusnora Elmurodova. She was invited to the headquarters of the company in Tashkent. The girl is going to meet the top executive of over the coming month, and will take part in training for journalists. She will also have the opportunity to write an article for one of the leading Uzbek publications.
“This is a nice surprise for me because I am going to be a journalist in the future. I am happy that we all have managed to find a solution to that water supply problem. For me, our common achievement and being invited to the capital are powerful incentives to learn, upgrade my capabilities and acquire new experience. I’ll meet those expectations, no doubt,” said Khusnora Elmuradova.