Navruzshoh, for the first time, started selling lemon and tomato, both fruits and plants he harvested from his own greenhouse built with International Organization for Migration – UN Migration Agency (IOM) support.
Navruzshoh Ghayratov by his 38 went through many life challenges experiencing refuge in Afghanistan from the Tajik civil war when was 12-13 and labour migration in Russia starting when was just 18 years old. He missed a year of school when was a refugee, then dropped from 6th grade. He accompanied his brother to Russia to work at construction sites and farms. His labour migration lasted for a decade and half before his name was included to long list of those, whose enter to Russia is banned because of violations of migration legislation. This list now includes more than 200,000 other migrant workers from Tajikistan.
Russia, an important driver of the Tajik economy of last two decades, turned his back to Navruzshoh, but not the luck. Just few months after returning home, at a local bazaar he heard people talking about a local NGO program for returned vulnerable migrants. It was NGO “Chahsma” implementing USAID Dignity and Rights-funded IOM program. Navruzshoh went to the organization and asked what he shall do to get a grant. The answer was a good will and a good skill and a good idea. He smiles: “I told them I have all”.
His idea was about what his late father taught him when he was a child, and what his brother improved in him when he was in Russia – vegetable gardening.
Under small income generation grant, Navruzshoh was assisted to set up his own greenhouse inside his household plot. He started with 40 lemon and 800 tomato plants, by now already sells both plants and fruits, as well as greens he also grows at home. The tropical climate of Tajikistan’s far south by Afghan border is well fit for growing lemons and almost every middle class household there has a lemonarium. It is an enough expensive product and one lemon even in season sells for no less than 0.20 cents apiece in Dushanbe. Price for tomatoes from greenhouses rises up to $2, 5 per kilo during winters. That is true that there is high competition for clientele, but Navruzshoh looks smart and self-confident.
Active and communicative, Navruzshoh, looks happy, fulfilled, and gratified. He says that his level of life and satisfaction from life substantially rose up: “I live now financially and socially a better life. I am happy that I can take care of my children. I could not go to school, so my dream is to send them to school, the eldest will go to 9th grade and I am already thinking about college for him. Now I can afford school appliances, books, clothes for my all three schoolchildren. I’m also planning to renovate my house”.