Armughon Handicrafts is the handicrafts arm of the Zerafshan Tourism
Development Association (ZTDA) in the Sughd region
onorthern Tajikistan.("Armughon" means"gift, a reminder
of a place" in Tajiki.) Armughon was launched in 2009
with the mission of preserving, nurturing and developing
local art traditions and improving the quality of life for
women living in the rural areas by creating new sources of income.
In June 2013, Designer Munira Akilova of Khujand (who also has her own craft business, Arinumcrafts) began to work with ZTDA. She was initially invited to do research on the traditional Tajik crafts of Suzani (embroidery), Quroq (patchwork) and carpets. Today she is the manager and designer for Armughon.
Munira began her career in economics and spent 14 years as a university teacher, before she decided to leave the university and spend her time on the embroidery that she loved. Whenever she creates a new design for Armughon, she "always tries to put a part of Zerafshan into it. It means all of [our] products should have Zerafshani ornaments/patterns." She also thinks deeply about how the product will be used, by whom and when, and then focuses on color. As she explained, "Each piece has its own meaning."
This is the process that led to the development
of multiple products that have received the
UNESCO Award of Excellence for Craft,
as well as numerous other awards and recognition at national and international exhibitions. In 2018, Armughon received a regional award for the Best New Product.
Today, Armughon provides handicraft work for
approximately 25 women in several rural
villages and surrounding areas. They receive
regular training and master classes to improve
their technical skills and learn design and business principles.