Volunteer in action
Since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union, Tajikistan has been a struggling republic faced with ethnic tensions, civil war and mass displacement. Two decades after the severe conflict, Tajikistan remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, facing a state of economic collapse and large-scale unemployment. Since 1994, Shelter For Life has worked on a range of humanitarian and community development initiatives, including: community-based disaster risk reduction, transitional shelter assistance, community construction projects, community education in HIV/AIDS prevention, vocation training for returnees, and business development.
In 2005, a series of ongoing severe weather conditions, including flooding and landslides threatened the personal security of hundreds of families in Tajikistan. That year, over 15,000 families were affected by this volatility. The excessive run-off from melting ice along the Pamir Mountains due to unusually hot weather along with heavy rainfalls resulted in the displacement of families and destruction of homes and infrastructure.
To resettle and restore the livelihoods of families displaced by the floods and landslides, our team constructed numerous transitional shelters and latrines, provided ‘food-for-work’ opportunities, and reconstructed a 27-school building.
99 Transitional shelters and 79 latrines constructed; and 1280 individuals provided short-term employment opportunities.
Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Project
Tajikistan is a mountainous earthquake-prone country with a high level of poverty. Many houses in Tajikistan are poorly build using low quality materials. Due to the high structural vulnerability combined with a low level of preparedness for earthquakes and access to appropriate mitigation materials, the risk of a disaster following a major earthquake is high.
With the goal of increasing disaster preparedness and awareness of vulnerable communities, and assisting them to be more resistant and better able to recover from the effects of an earthquake, our team partnered with ECHO and Mission East to implement initiatives throughout 8 regions of Tajikistan that involved capacity building, preparedness training, and small mitigation.
Over 40 communities strengthened in community based disaster management; 40,629 individuals trained in human rights, animal diseases, making preserves, general health awareness, infectious disease, and first aid; 570 community members trained in safer earthquake construction practices.
Values Awareness Programme
Due to the lack of employment in Tajikistan, over 1.5 million people have been forced to find work in surrounding countries. Because of this migration, many Taijk families fall into a continual debt cycle which forces the men to support their families from outside the country, placing families at a significantly higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from external regions.
To improve the economic and moral wellbeing of families in the South-Western region of Tajikistan, our team implemented a three-year community development program that offered moral values teaching, health education, and business training. This included a facet called Chornya Kassa (“money for a rainy day”) which allowed individuals to save money while accruing interest, and an education program about HIV/AIDS risk reduction and management.
750 families with small business supported to access finance through Chornya Kassa; 126 migrant families assisted to take steps towards HIV/AID protection; and 164 individuals with increased business profits.