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The Brigadeers of Tajikistan

When driving through rural Tajikistan you can see women stacked onto the back of an old truck, scarves on their heads, and often over their mouths to stop the dust.

They are "brigadeers" -- women who have no land or not enough land to earn a living from, who form groups and work on large farms planting, tending, and harvesting cotton, fruits, and vegetables.

I met these three women as they were the few that were left from the cotton harvest after the machines had gone through.

They're paid very little (e.g. around 100 Somoni a day for cotton, different rates for other products, which translates to around $8 USD), and will spend 8 hours a day, rain or shine (but not snow, as they told me!), doing this work.

The work is not secure and they have no guarantees or negotiating power.

They were happy that they had an opportunity to make an income, but said that they would prefer to work on their own land and sell their own products if they had the chance.

Elisa Scalise
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