Umut and her mother live in the Chon Kemin Valley. Their main income is potatoes. They plant potatoes in early spring and harvest in the fall. They live and work for a whole year in order to get a small profit in the fall, which they try to live on for a long period of time. Summer is a low season for them, and they collect medicinal herbs and flowers in the mountains for additional income. This brings them a small profit, but they can already provide themselves with products for the summer period. Over the past 2 years, Umut and her mother began to grow medicinal herbs - chamomile and calendula. This activity helps them in their daily life, gives them the opportunity to buy groceries and get ready for school. But they lack all the necessary equipment for collecting herbs and drying. Despite all this, Umut and her mother are not discouraged, do not give up and work. Their dream is a tumble dryer.
Poverty is one of the most important and pressing problems in Kyrgyzstan. According to household surveys in Kyrgyzstan, 40.8% of the population live in poverty, of which 9.4% of the rural population live in very poor. 53% of families headed by a woman are classified as poor families, 15% of which live below the poverty line.
The majority of the population lives in rural areas (65%). Women in Kyrgyzstan make up 50.6% of the total population. Poverty affects women and men in different ways, their social status, needs, potential and health. Women in Kyrgyzstan have limited opportunities than men due to customs and traditions that still have a strong influence on our society. It is also burdened by religious beliefs, when a woman is obliged to stay at home and look after children and household. These traditional roles influence women's choice of education, work and social activism.
Women living in rural areas are more prone to unemployment than men, and often their labor is paid less than men's labor. They spend 3.5 times more time on housekeeping, childcare and do not bring monetary income to the family, which affects women's access to many resources. Women living in poverty often lack access to such important resources as land and inheritance. They are not rewarded or recognized for their work. They hardly participate in decision-making, both at home and in the community.
The workload of women with household chores leads to problems such as an increase in the number of children growing up on the street. The other side of women's poverty and their limited opportunities to earn money lies in internal migration, when women and young girls are forced to leave their homes and work in the city or other areas of our country, which puts women at risk of falling into prostitution. Women are more adaptable to changing environmental conditions, including changes in their economic activities: they can easily enter small cooperatives and are more mobile to attract additional funds for the development of their activities (sale, production of felt products). Microcredit has become a very popular and successful poverty eradication strategy.
Erkaim lives in Chon Alai, one of the most remote regions of our country, where there is no access to basic infrastructure. For most of the year, the weather conditions are harsh, the late arrival of spring and the early onset of cold weather make the growing season very short, which makes it impossible for the local population to fully engage in agriculture, since the crops are exposed to frosts in the fall. Therefore, the main income comes from animal husbandry, which the women of the Chon - Alai Valley are engaged in. All year round, women live deep in the mountains, graze livestock and find food for their families. Erkaim is their only link to villages and markets where you can sell goods - meat, milk and wool. She travels to women living in the mountains and helps them sell their products, brings them medicines, food, clothing and much more. The women of Chon-Alai weave beautiful products from felt, which they manually process. Wool processing takes a lot of time and effort, but in spite of this, it is an additional income for them. Women, with the help of Erkaim, exchange their felt products for products that improve their lives. Spinning and carding machines could make their life much easier and change the material situation of these women.
Currently, women are actively involved in the activities of the small loan system. Every day, more and more poor women are looking for opportunities to engage in activities and activities to improve their well-being. They form and belong to cooperatives, small businesses and microcredit groups. But there are also a lot of women who work independently, without being members of cooperatives. Women use natural resources to which they have free access, collect medicinal herbs, berries, fruits, process products, improve their financial situation by selling herbs, tinctures,