Ready to start his workday, Alijon Davlatmirov sits among broken chairs, tables, and a car in queue to be repaired. Not only is his repair business saving money for the members of his community, he is helping the environment by reducing landfill waste in the region.
Alijon, 31, left his hometown in Buni village in the Shugnan district of Tajikistan, moving to Moscow in 2005, and worked there until 2016. With a dream to start his own business, he returned to Khorog to launch a welding and car service business. The University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) helped make this a reality, when its Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) school offered to house his new venture.
Enthusiastic to expand his expertise, he enrolled in SPCE’s plumbing course at the TVET school in 2017, where he developed his theoretical and practical knowledge. Alijon now sees himself as a pioneer in many aspects of the plumbing sphere. “In terms of plumbing, we have started new practices that have not been done before in Khorog,” said Alijon. “For instance, before if a Thermex water heater was damaged, it would be thrown away, and replaced for around 800 Tajik somoni ($80). Now, we can repair it for 100 Tajik somoni ($10), and Khorog residents are saving money and the environment.”
Today he is also trained in metal facilities and ironwork, and is receiving many orders for metal doors, bars and gates. He sees this as an opportunity not only to continue developing and expanding his business in the future, but to help develop the local economy. “I would like our community to reach a point where we can produce materials here, rather than bringing it from elsewhere,” said Alijon. “Materials are bought from China and Dushanbe to manufacture chairs and tables, but the quality is poor. We want to do it ourselves, so that people only need to pay once for quality products, and have accessible repair services nearby.”
Outside of his business, Alijon is very keen to give back and serve his community. He has cooperated with the “Umedvor” public organisation to build street benches, bookshelves, flowerpots, as well as a mobile library. “UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education’s support in launching my business and expanding my skills has changed my life. I want to pay it forward, and plan to continue helping my community.”