Tajik BlogWhen you are facing a challenging situation, with time, work and patience you are almost guaranteed to find solution. It was exactly the case of TBEC member in Tajikistan. The “STOP TB Partnership Tajikistan” has been looking for alternative income sources to support their network of patient support groups around the country. International funding was available only sporadically and unsustainable in long-term, with loss of people and knowledge after the end of each project. Thus, the “STOP TB Partnership Tajikistan” was looking for more sustainable and long-term funding sources and in 2016 during the General Assembly of the Partnership, a local Tajik entrepreneur, inspired by their work, approached the Secretariat with an offer to support their activities in a sustainable manner. The Partnership reacted immediately and with help of business consultant quickly developed viable and sustainable long-term business plan to create a social enterprise. As the majority of the Dushanbe’s population owns at least two cars, a car repair shop seemed like a perfect fit. The entrepreneur agreed to cover the costs of renovation of the shop, the purchase of necessary tools and the hiring of several car mechanics. The profit made after paying the rent and salaries will go directly to cover expenses of the patient support groups – salaries of case managers, expenses for food or medicine for people with TB and their families.

The partnership started a Facebook page, which showcases the groups’ activities and lists the funds spent on patient support groups and people with TB, including personal testimonies. Furthermore, TB survivors have also been given an opportunity to learn the trade of car repair from the mechanics themselves. In the future, the Partnership aims to use the profit to develop a proper vocational training scheme for TB survivors, covering their transport and food expenses, and even paying a small fee to the trainees, allowing them to re-train as car mechanics. TB survivors, their families, and also government institutions have warmly welcomed the initiative. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population has supported the initiative by sending out official letters to all international organisations and embassies, explaining the state of TB incidence in the country, presenting the initiative and inviting them to contract the repair shop for any further maintenance and repair works for their fleets. The Republican Centre of Protection of Population from Tuberculosis under the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population has become the first to sign the servicing contract. Following the letter, several embassies and international organisations such as Agha Khan, Caritas and MSF have visited the repair shop and expressed their interest for further cooperation.

The next steps for the STOP TB Partnership Tajikistan are to register itself as a full-fledged charity and re-register the car repair shop as a social enterprise, and launch similar social enterprises in other regions of Tajikistan. The Secretariat also intends to launch a video, explaining how the social enterprise was funded and run, and how the profit is used to support people with TB in Tajikistan.

For more information, please read TBEC case study here.


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