Meerim's daughters Giving hope and helping to build a better life

The number of divorces continues to increase in Kyrgyzstan every year, and almost every fifth marriage ends in this way. In most cases, children stay with their mother.

Meerim is the mother of five girls: Akak, Akbermet, Medina, Cholpon, and Burul. Her marriage fell apart when her youngest daughter, Burul, was born. Her ex-husband lost hope of having a son. When Burul was only 3 months old, he left Meerim and their daughters.

"I don't have any warm memories of my family life. My first daughter was born at jailoo (a remote high-altitude summer pasture). I always worked hard taking care of the household, kids, and in-laws. I never had time for myself and never felt any love from my husband. He made me feel that I didn't deserve it."

Meerim is raising her daughters on her own, with no support from her ex-husband. She rents an apartment in Karakol, a city in the eastern part of Kyrgyzstan, and works part-time.

To receive support from her ex-husband, Meerim tried to file a lawsuit. But his private lawyers always postponed and appealed the court hearings.

Meerim works part-time and cannot afford a private lawyer. When she had almost given up, she learned from Public Union “Abiyir El” about the local Committee for Prevention of Domestic Violence (CPVD) that provides free assistance to people in need.

She turned to the Committee for help. CPVD members supported Meerim with a consultation and sent her to a local Free Legal Aid Center (FLAC).

At the FLAC, Meerim met Aida Jumabekova, an experienced lawyer with experience working in a local court. Aida gathered all documents and filed a lawsuit against Meerim's ex-husband.

Aida’s professionalism and expertise helped Meerim to win a lawsuit. Now her ex-husband must pay alimony. Meerim is thankful for the life together with her daughters.

"It is not an easy life, but it is still better than the one we had before”

More than 40,000 men in Kyrgyzstan are required to pay alimony for child support. But many more would have to do so if more women filed lawsuits to recover the child support to which they are entitled.

With the support of the USAID Collaborative Governance Program, CPVDs and FLACs provide support and assistance to thousands of vulnerable people like Meerim in Kyrgyzstan.

The USAID Collaborative Governance Program supported the creation and development of 27 local CPDVs to prevent domestic violence in targeted communities in Bishkek, Issyk-Kul and Osh oblasts. More than 3,477 representatives of the most vulnerable population received needed support and assistance.

The USAID Collaborative Governance Program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, established 10 new FLACs to improve access to legal services for citizens, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations. This is in addition to the 15 existing FLACs. Since 2016, over 132,000 citizens have received free legal assistance at FLACs nationwide.

This publication is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through a grant from the USAID Collaborative Governance Program implemented by East-West Management Institute, Inc. The contents are the sole responsibility of the East West Management Institute, Inc. and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, and the United States Government


Maxim Shubovich