Located in the scenic Murghab district of Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), Alichor village stands along the M-41 highway, which stretches into China and Kyrgyzstan. The village, adjacent to the historic Great Silk Road, presents significant untapped tourism potential. Each year, Alichor becomes a gateway for numerous travellers exploring the renowned Pamir highway, journeying through the village en route to their next destination. Despite its promise, Alichur's tourism sector faces difficulties such as a challenging climate, lack of electricity, and its isolated location, impeding development.
Raima Dinorshoeva opened the very first homestay in Alichor back in 2007. She began her journey 36 years ago when she moved to Murghab to teach English right after graduating from a pedagogical institute. Raima was among the few English speakers in the area and contributed to assisting passing tourists, helping them to find a place to sleep and eat.
“At that time, I didn’t think much about money, and simply helped in any way I could” recalls Raima.
Later, she started hosting guests in her own home, and eventually, she established her homestay “Shukrona” which means “gratitude”.
“My business is community-based” emphasises Raima. Here, residents contribute by crafting unique handicrafts and souvenirs, while drivers, guides, and farmers collectively offer tourists a comprehensive 360-degree experience. Raima’s husband, a farmer himself, enhances the homestay experience by supplying fresh sour cream, yoghurt, and milk. Her three children, all with higher education and a good command of English, also actively help in developing their family business.
As part of Acted’s Set to Switch project funded by the European Union’s SWITCH-Asia programme, Raima participated in extensive training sessions on energy efficiency, renewable energy practices, and the fundamentals of sustainable consumption and production practices. She also learned and delved into responsible borrowing, green investments, and eco-standards. “These trainings were extremely helpful, and I must say, they renewed my motivation to develop and expand my business” shares Raima. Furthermore, she received support in the form of investment and installation assistance for solar panels.
Thanks to the project's support, my family received invaluable assistance in addressing the challenge of unstable electricity
The “Shukrona” homestay now enjoys a reliable power supply, enabling Raima to welcome tourists year-round and significantly improving the family budget. Beyond the benefits for her family and guests, Raima extends a helping hand to neighbors who visit the homestay to charge their phones and devices. Looking ahead, Raima envisions expanding her business further. “I aim to attract more unemployed individuals in the community to join my business, with the hope of fully meeting the needs of our guests and contributing to the overall development of my community”, concludes Raima with infectious optimism, inspiring a brighter future for Alichor.