Cotton pickers in Andijan © UGF 2017

Another Victim of “Cotton-2017” Campaign: Kindergarten Teacher Dies in Field of Asthma Attack.

A teacher at the pre-school educational establishment №3 in the town of Andijan, Ilvira Pidayevna, died of suffocation while picking cotton. According to her colleagues, Ilvira had been working in this kindergarten for almost 10 years. Reports say that she had an asthma attack in the field and died before anyone could provide her with first aid.

The governor of Andijan Region, Shuhratbek Abdurahmonov, addressed the people of the region on 10 October with an appeal in connection with the cotton-picking campaign. He said that the period from 15 October to 15 November had been declared the month of accelerated cotton-picking and stressed that the entire population of the region should contribute to this public campaign.

“I watched the governor’s televised address myself”, said one of the residents. “He used tough language to speak about the cotton campaign: ‘You know how to approach us when you need help. Cotton is our common wealth. Make your contribution to it. Everybody will go to the cotton fields to pick cotton, even the elderly. If they cannot pick cotton, they will make tea for others.’ Following his speech, not a single sector of industry or employee could stay out of this campaign. Students and staff of the education and medical sectors, who were returned back from the cotton fields following a presidential order, have again been sent to pick cotton from the beginning of October. Staff at schools and pre-school establishments have been ordered to send at least 30-40 parents to the fields every day to pick cotton.

We are doing as best we can to involve parents in the cotton-picking campaign. However, it has become very tough for parents too. Those who work are picking cotton on behalf of their offices, and those who do not are picking cotton on behalf of their local neighborhood. As we could not hire enough people, we have been going to the fields to pick cotton ourselves. We knew that Ilvira had been suffering from asthma and she should not have gone to pick cotton in the fields”, said one of her colleagues.

According to reports, before joining the pre-school educational establishment №3, Ilvira worked at a publishing house and the “Andijanskaya Pravda” newspaper in the town of Andijan. Her son is a labor migrant in Russia and she lived alone. Her funeral took place on 28 October. Ilvira’s colleagues say that since her relatives are far away, all events related to the funeral are being

handled by the pre-school educational establishment №3 and the publishing house.