Trader Ranow Mirzoeva has seen ups and downs in her business over the years. She used to import goods from Uzbekistan into Tajikistan, selling it to retailers and making up to USD 1000 a week. During these years of plenty she learned to drive, becoming one of the first female drivers in her district. She noticed the timesaving benefits of going to and from Uzbekistan with her own truck. However, her livelihood was put at risk when the Tajik-Uzbek border was closed in 2010. Unfavourable relations between the two countries made a huge dent in her income. Life at home isn't easy either. Ranow claims to stay with her husband only for the sake of their children. She says, "He's not successful and has a hard character." Her husband, traditionally the breadwinner in Tajik society, sat at home and didn't provide for his family. This was what motivated her to do something.
With growing children, expenses and domestic needs, Ranow got to work with a new business. Based on what is in season, she now trades in apples, apricots, mandarin oranges, bananas, and pears. She also deals in fertilizer wholesale. This way she has income year-round. She received an agricultural loan from IMON to legalize 0.6ha of land which she owns and harvests from. She uses her large cellar at home to store goods and sells them when the price is good. For example, right now she has one metric ton of apricots in her storehouse and will sell them when the price is more favourable. Three years ago the apricot harvest failed, but she managed to make do through trading. She diversifies through trading and she invests her earnings in providing for her children, parents, and in home improvements.
Ranow feels recognized by her family and community. She is the chair of the PTA and is supporting her parents as they build an addition, which she designed, onto their home. She does all the negotiations with the contractors, one of whom is her husband, who started working in construction a couple of years ago. Ranow is a powerful, busy Tajik woman who, in part due to IMON's loan, has been able to overcome the odds and determine her own future.