Teenage Girls Fill Labour Gap

School-age girls are out gathering the cotton harvest in parts of Tajikistan this autumn, and many have dropped out of education altogether.

Teenage Girls Fill Labour Gap

School-age girls are out gathering the cotton harvest in parts of Tajikistan this autumn, and many have dropped out of education altogether.

Thursday, 29 October, 2009
Labour migration has meant that much of Tajikistan’s adult male population is out of the country for long periods, and adolescents as well as women are left to work in the fields



IWPR reporters visited Khorasan district in the south of the country, where most cotton is grown, and talked to girls aged between 12 and 18 who were picking cotton by and lugging sacks weighing up to 50 kilograms to the delivery point.



“This year I haven’t been going to school as it’s far away, it takes an hour to get there,” said one of the workers, 12-year-old Shabona, one of three sisters out of whom only the eldest goes to school. Their father is away and sends home money, which the family is using to build a house, and Shabona hands over her earnings to her mother.



Farms in the district are suffering a shortage of labour this harvest season even though this year, they were allowed to reduce the amount of land planted under cotton and grow vegetables instead.



Tajikistan
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