Relief Aid Headed to Tajikistan

Map

ISOH/IMPACT was approved on November 2, 2011 by the United States Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for the U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia (EUR/ACE) for shipment under the Small and Medium Transportation Program (SMTP) to ship three (3) forty-foot containers of relief aid to Tajikistan.

In 1997, ISOH/IMPACT responded to an invitation from the government of Tajikistan to assist with providing support to orphanages, schools and health care facilities in Dushanbe. Since 1997 ISOH/IMPACT has shipped and distributed 87 shipments of relief aid worth more than estimated $7.1 million US dollars.

In 2007, ISOH/IMPACT established Mayak (Lighthouse in English) a local non-profit community based organization. Since its inception Mayak has successfully received and distributed eight (8) forty-foot containers of relief aid to schools, hospitals and orphanages in Tajikistan. Mayak has a group of 12 volunteers dedicated to receiving and distributing goods as a parner with ISOH/IMPACT.

The Children’s medical rehabilitation program has assisted more than 40 children through the medical rehabilitation program and continues to support children, families, and other community initiatives through the Seeds of Hope Program with Mayak.

Some Facts About Tajikistan

The capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe and is a landlocked country that is slightly smaller than the state of Wisconsin. Tajikistan borders Afghanistan to the south, China to the east, Kyrgyzstan to the north and Uzbekistan to the west. It is a rugged, mountainous country with lush valleys to the south and north and is Central Asia’s poorest nation.

Tajiks are the country’s largest ethnic group, with Uzbeks making up a quarter of the population, over half of which is employed in agriculture and just one-fifth in industy. Nearly half of Tajikistan’s 7 million (UN 2010) population is under the age of 14. The Tajik language is very close to Persian, spoken in Iran, and to Dari, spoken in Afghanistan. The Tajiks have their own spoken language, but no written language.

A former Soviet republic, Tajikistan plunged into civil war almost as soon as it became independent from the Soviet Union in1991. Social problems have created fertile ground for crime and drug trafficking, with Tajikistan on the so-called Northern route through which heroin is trafficked from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe.

The United States recognized Tajikistan on December 24, 1991. In October 2004 Russia formally opened a military base in Dushanbe where several thousand troops are stationed. In 2006, the American Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan moved into a purpose-built embassy compound.

The overall political and socio-economic conditions, the pattern of illness and high infant and maternal mortality rates, high rates of children with moderate to mild malnutrition, high incidences of preventable diseases (i.e. measles, polio, parasites, diarrhea and respiratory) continues to plague the people of this nation. In addition, essential pharmaceuticals and health care supplies and equipment continue to be grossly deficient. Many medical professionals have left the country and thos who have remained lack the skills and technology to administer adequate health care.

The country’s economy has never really recovered from the civil war and proverty is widespread. With over 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line, food is scarce. Almost half of Tajikistan’s GDP is earned by migrants working abroad, especially in Russia, but the recession in 2009 threatened that income. The country is largely dependent on oil and gas imports. Economic hardship is seen as a contributing factor to a renewed interest in Islam – including more radical forms – amoung young Tajiks.

See Serving Tajikistan in Pictures