Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls through Sewing in Turkmenistan

Women and girls from the Afghan and local communities engaged in practical exercises in sewing at the Vocational School of the city of Mary of the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan. Photo credits: @Rauf Guseynov/IOM Turkmenistan

Participants become able to sew their own version of clothes by the end of the training. Photo credits: @Rauf Guseynov/IOM Turkmenistan

An Afghan woman who completed the training receives the final certificate during the awarding ceremony at the end of training, along with a personal sewing machine. Photo credits: @Rauf Guseynov/IOM Turkmenistan

In Mary, IOM's vocation training in sewing is improving the socio-economic empowerment of Afghan and local community women and girls. Photo credits: @Rauf Guseynov/IOM Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan, 24 June - A three-month vocational training program in sewing conducted at the Vocational School of the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan in the city of Mary has helped fifty women and girls from the Afghan and local communities of Mary province to improve their access to sustainable livelihoods. The non-governmental organization Mashgala supported the implementation of the program as part of the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) regional project "Comprehensive Action Plan for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries." 

The participants were selected based on a survey conducted by IOM of the professional development needs of over 216 Afghan and local women and girls in the cities of Mary, Bayramali and Sakar Chaga in Mary province. The assessment identified the most in-demand professions and skills that would help them to work in small businesses or self-employed to earn a steady income. 

In groups of 25, the participants learned the theory and practice of sewing for three months, guided by professional instructors from Mary's Vocational School under the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan. The participants were very engaged in the training, and some even joined a national sewing contest in Ashgabat. The instructors praised the participants' enthusiasm, determination and skill, and each participant made her own clothes by the end of the training. 

"The ability of all beneficiaries to go above and beyond in every task they undertake during the sewing courses is truly remarkable. Their performance is an inspiration to us all," remarks Bazar Bugrayev, Director of Mashgala. 

All graduates received official certificates that verified their qualifications as seamstresses. They also got a personal professional sewing machine from IOM to help them continue their training and use their skills to generate sustainable income sources. 

"I cannot express how much this certificate means to me. IOM's support and faith in my abilities have inspired me to pursue higher goals in the future. Thank you for this remarkable journey," says Arzuw, a participant from the Afghan community. 

The IOM regional project “Comprehensive Action Plan for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries” funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to provide comprehensive support to Afghan nationals living in Turkmenistan and local communities, especially women and girls, to ensure long-term sustainable development at the local level. One of the project components is the socio-economic empowerment of Afghan and local community women and girls with the direct involvement of local authorities and national non-governmental organizations. 

For more information please contact: 

In Turkmenistan: Dovlet Chariev,, +99365708755 

In Vienna: Lanna Walsh,, +905336987285 


SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 4 - Quality Education
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth