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"It is necessary to empower older people so they can help themselves"

24 Sep 2010

Dina, an ADA activistI have been a leader of the Older Person's Group of Jany-Pahta village of Sokuluk rayon of Chui province since 2008. I am also the leader of a self-help group "Yrys" (which means "Prosperity" in Kyrgyz). Based on my work experience over these two years, I would like to help older people not only in my village, but also in the southern region where older people live in very harsh conditions.

The Age Demands Action planning meeting went well and we raised all issues affecting older people. Together with AgeNet partners we hope to meet with representatives from the Presidential Administration, ministries and departments such as the State Agency for Social Protection, ministries of health care, emergencies, migration and employment.

How to help older people in the south

This problem is one of the most important ones at present. Older people there have lived through two pogroms, two revolutions, plus wars between ethnicities and clans. Our grandparents have been worried and are still worried about the destiny of their children and grandchildren.

The problems

1. During the land reform, older people in the south were deprived of their land plots. In Chui province, agricultural workers received 0,4 hectares each but in the south everybody (including urban residents) only received 0,04 hectares each.

2. Plants for processing cotton and textile which used to be prosperous in the south are now closed. Work opportunities are heavily reduced. Older people plant corn instead of cotton on their land plots, because it is more profitable to grow bread for their needs. There is no one to process cotton as young people have left the village due to migration. People need funding to cultivate cotton but credit loans are only given with high interest rates.

The changes we want

1. We want the government to revise land reform and return land to village residents.

2. We want older people to  receive credits with low interest rates and to have enough so they can cultivate the land. 

3. We want the government to organise cheap transportation for agricultural produce grown in the south so we can sell what we grow.

4. We want to revive growing cotton in big quantities. If this happens, then plants on cotton processing will be opened and the textile industry will be restored. This is the secret of how to bring back the workforce.

Empower older people so they can help themselves

The government should attract older people to public work. They sit at home, raising grandchildren and being worried about the destinies of their children, who are far away from home. They become depressed and isolated. They become vulnerable. It is necessary to empower and broaden the minds of older people so that they can help themselves.

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Dina Muhataeva

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