This month our KIVA loan goes to 22 year old Azizov Sohib in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan. He is married and has a small child. For more than five years Sohib has been running a joiner’s shop manufacturing wooden doors and window frames.
Hard-working young people like Sohib are the future of any nation. I admit a soft spot for those who produce beautiful joinery and carpentry, as both my father and brother were master carpenters who produced beautiful cabinetry, furniture, clocks and even houses. So, as a small remembrance to my brother Hall, who recently passed away, and my dad Charlie, who left us in November of 1985, a loan to a young man who carries on the tradition of beautiful woodwork.
Sohib is respected as a good worker in his neighborhood. His business generates a stable income allowing him to support his family and improve their living conditions. Now he needs to purchase additional materials for his manufacturing shop. For this reason he applied for a $1395.00 (USD) loan. This is Sohib's third loan, which he promises to repay his loan in a timely manner. He thanks everyone for their support.
Tajikistan has a rich history. It was along the Silk Road and the boundary of Alexander the Great's empire. The poets Omar Khayyam and Rumi were from Tajikistan. The country is home to communities that still speak the ancient Sogdian language, epic mountain passes, and a civilization that dates back to the 4th millennium BC. And, even today, it is a complex mixture of the Islamic faith, Soviet culture, New West culture and Central Asian traditions.
Tajikistan is now the poorest of the former Soviet republics. The civil war, which ignited soon after its independence from the U.S.S.R., further damaged the already weak economy. In addition, 93% of the country is mountainous and only 7% of the land is arable. These conditions have resulted in high levels of unemployment and have forced hundreds of thousands to seek work in other countries, mainly Russia. While the people of Tajikistan are working to improve its agricultural production and manufacturing sector, nearly two-thirds of the population still live in abject poverty. But with hard work and a little help Sohib and his family will not be among those living in poverty.