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Land Reform Project in Tajikistan Helps Return a Home to its Owner

A widow and her children win a legal battle to stay in their home with the intervention of USAID’s Land Reform project that provides legal services to farmers and rural citizens of Tajikistan.
In Tajikistan, as in many developing countries, a range of cultural, social, and political factors combined with a lack of awareness of legal issues prevent women from enjoying their rights to land and property, often subjecting them to unjust and sometimes fraudulent practices.
Fayzinisso Ashurova and her husband purchased a house near Khujand in 1998. The seller, Mr. Kubilov, took their money and promised to complete the necessary paperwork in a few days. However, Kubilov unexpectedly moved to Uzbekistan and never provided Fayzinisso with the proper title to the house.
Fayzinisso tried to find the seller for years, but to no avail. Having learned that Fayzinisso was widowed in 2008, Kubilov, still in Uzbekistan, sought to take advantage of the situation. Kubilov gave power of attorney to his friend, who drafted a purchase agreement granting the title of Fayziniso’s house to Parvina, the friend’s daughter. Parvina then immediately evicted Fayzinisso and her five children.
“I did not know where to turn for help,” said Fayzinisso. Her son suggested that she contact the USAID Land Reform Project in Khujand, having heard that the project provides legal services to farmers and rural citizens. “I had nothing to lose, so I prayed and went to the office,” said Fayzinisso.
Legal aid director Nodira Sidykova interviewed Fayzinisso and reviewed her documents. After a thorough study of the documents and relevant legislation and international conventions, Nodira took the case to the Supreme Court of Tajikistan on Fayzinisso’s behalf. Court records revealed that the documents granting title to Parvina were void, based on fraud and collusion. In June 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fayzinisso and returned the house to her and her children.
“My faith was tested when my husband died and we lost our house, but then Nodira and the Land Reform Project gave me and my children hope,” she said. “I can’t thank Nodira and USAID enough!” 
The USAID Land Reform Project is one of the many assistance projects the United States, through USAID, has provided in support of the people of Tajikistan. Since 1992, the United States has provided about $900 million in programs that support Tajikistans's democratic institutions, health care, education and economic growth.


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