Turkmenistan: Sona Chuli-Kuli

I believe that a woman is the basis of life, and it is she who will bring peace to the world, because she, as a giver of life, will not destroy the life that she has given.

— Sona Chuli-Kuli

Sona Chuli-Kuli is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience. Chuli-Kuli is her pseudonym. She cannot use her real name, because it would be too dangerous for her. She works in the field of conflict resolution and in her articles she addresses critical problems in her country. She founded the Patients Rights Association "Arkadag", a NGO which has provided services to thousands of women all over the country in the areas of reproductive health, domestic violence, prevention of drug abuse, women’s human rights, and advocacy.

Sona Chuli-Kuli is a well-known journalist in Turkmenistan. She lives and works under a pseudonym. She has a very determined character and opposes injustice in all its forms. In 2002, she participated in the seminar on Journalism and Democracy in Kalmar, Sweden, against the wishes of the editor of "Neutral Turkmenistan," the daily newspaper she wrote for at that time. She was dismissed for this reason. However, such opposition made her more determined and she began to write for foreign news agencies and regained her professional confidence. Sona is unable to name her employer as it is too dangerous, but she confirms that she writes about the true state of things in her country. In January 1998, she founded the NGO Patients Rights Association "Arkadag" which she affiliated to another non-governmental organization, the Turkmen Association of Journalists "Shamchyrag." During the eight years it has existed, thousands of women all over the country have benefited from the services of Arkadag in the areas of reproductive health, domestic violence, drug prevention, women’s human rights, and advocacy. Supported by advisers, members of the organization carried out seminars, training lessons, and defended many people whose rights had been infringed. Arkadag promotes peace building, both outside and within the family. Domestic violence and the trafficking of women exist in the country, but these are not perceived as such. Statistics show that more than half of the female population suffers from domestic violence. So Sona decided to defend these women. She works with women, victims of domestic violence, and children from these families. Sona believes that civil society in Turkmenistan is in an early stage, but she is determined that it will succeed, especially now that the international community is giving its support.

National Union of Journalists Turkmen Association of Journalists "Shamchyrag" Patients Rights Association "Arkadag"