Aziza’s small business: dreams come true…

Aziza during graduation ceremony
Aziza is giving a commencement speech to other graduates of the vocational school a year later. Credit: Kairatbek Murzakimov / UNDP

570 young people of Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces were trained in 12 Vocational Schools on the most demanded professions during April-July 2011. They were unemployed youth from poor families aged 16-28, living in distant villages and areas affected by the ethnic conflict in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. The training was organized by UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCHR within a joint project “Youth, Livelihood and Peace Promotion”, which was initiated in response to the crisis situation.  The project was funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and the Government of the Russian Federation.

During the certificate award ceremony at the vocational school #12 on July 19, 2011, a young lady standing among other invited guests, caught eyes of spectators. When she stepped up and delivered her congratulating speech, graduates of the school recognized her as a graduate of the last year’s courses. That day Aziza Suleimanova took part in the ceremony as an employer and hired two girls who completed hairdresser courses to work in her own beauty salon “Elina”.

Highlights

  • 570 young people of Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces were trained in 12 vocational schools.
  • Employment rate of the courses' graduates was around 90%.
  • One of the graduates, Aziza Suleimanova, became an employer a year later.

In 2010, after the situation more or less stabilized after the tragic events in Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces, Aziza’s father brought an announcement about free courses that were organized by UNDP on basis of vocational schools in Osh city. Hairdressing courses were in the list. It was Aziza’s child dream and she realized that it is her chance!

The first attempts of Aziza to be hairdresser were back when she was 10 years old: she took scissors and cut her little brother’s hair. In family of Avaz Ahmedovich, a barber, there are 4 children – 2 boys and 2 girls. Aziza is his eldest daughter. She always observed how her father gives haircuts to neighbors and friends. Unfortunately seven years ago after graduation of high school it was decided that she will not continue her education in a university as she had stay and help her mother.

- Today I’m very happy that Aziza completed this training and works independently. It is so happed that I had no time to train my daughter, - tells her father, Avaz Suleimanov.

Last year, after graduation, Aziza together and her friends decided to start their own business. They found rooms, received a grant and purchased all necessary equipment for a beauty salon. In the fall of 2010 they opened their beauty salon with three hairdressers, one manicure technician, one rubber and cosmetician. Moreover, later on Aziza and her friends participated in “Start your business” workshop, where they learned more about doing business and marketing. They also developed project proposals to expand their business within the “Youth, Livelihood and Peace Promotion” project.

– While we did not succeed a lot, but we are happy to have that we have today,- says Aziza Suleimanova. – Each staff serves 3-4 clients, 50% of income we spend to rent, 20% - to cover other expenses, the rest is our profit. Men’s haircut costs 80-100 Kyrgyz soms, women’s – 150-200. This is rather cheap for our city and we keep it low at this stage to attract clients. Unfortunately, we have can’t afford to attend expensive workshops of such well-known companies as Wella, Schwarzkopf, but we are trying to update our skills: we buy CDs and look for new information on Internet.

Today Aziza is 25. She sis married and has a 6-year old child and she thinks her dream came true. Certainly she wishes to expand and have a large and popular salon, where people come from all over the region, not only the city of Osh.