Tajikistan: Digital technology sparks women’s creativity

With its unique cultural traditions and folk arts, Tajikistan is a country full of vibrant and diverse cultural expressions. Yet the lack of education and professional development stand in the way of Tajik women fully participating in the creative cultural industries. Digital Arts Academy, one of four winning proposals of "You Are Next" UNESCO | Sabrina Ho Initiative, hopes to address this gender gap by offering digital arts training to 24 women from Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

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Implemented by a local NGO Bactria Cultural Center, Digital Arts Academy has provided participants courses on digital creation, animation, cinematography, coding and web programming, photo and video editing, as well as entrepreneurship. In addition, an intensive one-month summer school programme was organized in Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, during which participants enrolled in digital master classes. Jama Jurabaev, a well-known concept artist, illustrator and art director based in London shared his experience of working for the film and game industries with students.

The programme facilitated internship opportunities for students to turn their learning into practice. With the support of partner organizations such as television and radio stations, design firms, and creative advertising agencies, each trainee completed a six-month internship in an area of their interests. The internship programme has had direct impact on the careers of the aspiring creators. “Three participants received job offers from the companies they interned for, and others moved on to other organizations in pursuit of a higher-paid position,” said Niyoza Ayni, project manager.

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