Village women in Alay region, Kyrgyzstan did not have access to Internet for a while, as library had no funds to cover Internet expenses. Lack of access to Internet was a barrier for them to work online and use Internet for their work and other home related issues, as they used to get information on from canning to making online conversations with their children abroad. They also got used to social networking with their colleagues and friends from other regions. There are 32 branches of Alay Regional Library and thanks to productive and enthusiastic work of Chinara Ubukeeva, Chief Librarian, librarian supported the initiative to collect some funds to connect to Internet for one year. By doing this library managed to invite more women from other villages also, as they provide trainings on child care, women reproductive health and hygiene of children. Also library provides family reading sessions and trainings, which attract a lot most of parents from neighboring villages. Thanks to enormous efforts of library, more women started to have access to Internet and attracted by trainings programs of library and visit library more often. They also help out librarian actively in making field visits and trainings in open air based on request of village women and other residents.

Photos from the events can be found at

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Comment on this Post


Thanks for sharing, Samara! Your description of the challenges related to lacking access to the Internet is insightful. I hadn't thought about just how empowering Internet access can be. The photos also help by speaking to the context in which you are writing.

Internet access really matters in KG, as it is costly and time consuming process, we had to clarify relations with Telecom who is providing Internet access on their responsibility to provide Int-t timely and on good quality, way to perfect providing is far away from being perfect, therefore such issues raise up from time to time.

Dear Samara, Thank you for such a wonderful description of what a transformative effect a library can have on women's lives.You provided such insight as to the possibilities of a library becoming a community center and a place for empowerment and growth. I hope you will be able to find support to grow the impact of this library and increase the number of people you reach. More power to you for opening a window to empowerment through your library! All the best, Susan

Hi Susan,

Thank you so much for your comment, we hope to turn slowly the library into community center, which is lready happening to discuss community related issues together with local state bodies, active leaders, village heads and of course active women

Dear Samara,

Thank you so much for sharing the story of Chinara Ubukeeva's efforts to make the internet accessible to women and families in rural Kyrgyzstan. The story is so powerful and the photos truly bring it to life. I love hearing about how the libraries are becoming the community hub for critical education for women and for stimulating reading among children. Wonderful work happening there! I would love to know how much it cost to fund the internet for a year.

I truly appreciate hearing this story and seeing another example of how one woman's love and commitment is changing the world.

Many blessings to you. Bheki

Hi Bheki, Internet cost is about $500 maximum, and it huge funds for local village library, therefore covering Internet cost is significant for library in Alay region and village women together with librarians supported this idea. Ne have another great news, thanks to efforts of Alay Regional Library, Aga-Khan foundation decided to cover Internet cost starting from July for 1 year, this will be success story for other libraries to use their local and international partners for problem solution.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. A friend who studied medicine in the United States, but went back to Kyrgyzstan to practice neurology expressed the same thoughts you have. She is extremely frustrated at the cost of the internet in Bishkek. She wished that there was more money available to make the internet more readily available for the use by the public and more funding available for educational works in digital literacy.

Hi thank you for your comment, Internet is costly because it is monopolized by one state company, there is no space for healthy competition between the companies. We wish the price of Internet will be lower slowly

Hi Sylvie, thank you for your post,

If each of us will not do little things for development of our communities, nothing will change, luckily in KG people are already aware that they should be active in decision mkaing processes, as it will affect them first of all, will work towards set goals

I think this is a great initiative from you and we need more women to start such initiative start such project to achieve our goal of making available the internet to more and more women for their benefit.

Keep up the good work and best of luck on your future endeavor.


Julie Desai