Favziya Shonazmieva, resident of Porshnev village in the Shugnan district of Tajikistan, wanted to continue working after becoming a mother. After not finding a suitable kindergarten or preschool centre in her neighbourhood for her child, she came up with the idea of establishing a modern Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre. Although Favziya had the necessary facilities to establish the centre, she did not know how to start a business, or how to run it. Determined to realise her dream, she enrolled in a business planning course offered at the University of Central Asia School of Professional and Continuing Education (UCA-SPCE) in Khorog.
“Before attending SPCE’s 6-month business planning course, I lacked knowledge and skills about running a business,” said Favziya Shonazmieva. “During this course, I learnt new concepts on financial literacy, marketing and business communications. It also strengthened my self-confidence to run my own business.” As part of the business planning course, Favziya also went to Dushanbe on an internship, where she learnt about the operational side of an existing ECD centre.
After completing the course, Favziya opened an educational centre with only three children and began a marketing campaign by printing banners and promoting her business on social media. “Knowing how to properly market my business really worked,” she said. Now, in its third year of operation, the centre has become a home to 60 children during the day, and she has employed five staff members.
“What makes SPCE a unique school, is that it does not leave you halfway,” said Favziya. “As an SPCE graduate, the School always informs us about different networking opportunities, where we are introduced to start-ups and business leaders, who share their difficulties and secrets to success.” Through regular participation in these events, Favziya received furniture donations from the Institute for Professional Development and the “Madina” non-governmental organisation. She also received equipment from the Aga Khan Foundation’s ECD programme to set up her centre.
Favziya is full of new ideas and plans to make them a reality. In the future she wants to work with retired women in her town to write fairy tales and songs about their local culture and history. She plans to use these learning materials at her centre, and wishes to share them with other children in the community.
This text was adapted from an article published on the UCA website.