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Kyrgyzstan: A Fine Finish -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Kyrgyzstan: A Fine Finish


The Ainagul family


For nearly 39 years, Uralieva Ainagul lived in a house that had been built by her husband, Juma, when the young couple had just been starting out in Barskoon, Kyrgyzstan.

A widow, Uralieva was now sharing the space with her son Zamir and his family of five. The once-new house, built without a foundation, was often damp, making mold and fungus a constant challenge. A farmer by trade who grows wheat, apples, apricots and potatoes and keeps sheep and cows, Zamir decided to demolish the unhealthy house and build a new, sturdier house on the same spot. Building as he saved enough money for tasks, he managed to lay a foundation for the new house and to build the main walls and roof of the structure.

During this time, the family has crowded together in a temporary one-room shelter. “It is not easy,” wife Astra says. “When relatives or neighbors come to visit us, there’s no place for our children.”

Not for long. With a loan from Habitat Kyrgyzstan — 25,000 soms or approximately US$4,800 — Zamir has acquired the funds necessary to complete the house in short order: a finished ceiling, heating and electricity, plastered and painted walls, windows and doors. There will be plenty of room for 9-year-old Ilgiz, 3-year-old Ilim and their 6-year-old sister Ilnaz to have their own space.

“Our children ask me often when we will finish the house, when we will move into our new house,” he says. “Of course, life will change, especially for our children. I understand that it is very difficult to live in a one-room house and see how their friends live. We are very grateful for Habitat’s help, as it will change our life for the better.”