Serving Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Believing in a World Without Orphans
One Child - One Family at a Time
Arriving into Tajikistan, it was easy to see the majesty of this beautiful country. Crossing the Himalayans was breathtaking - but this was not the goal of my time here in this country of mystery.
The goal is to assess an NGO, help them develop next steps to expand their capacity to care for the most vulnerable of society - children who are or could become orphans.
There are no solid statistics on the number of orphans in Tajikistan, but there are said to be 9,000 children who are living in internats (orphanages). In addition, work migration is wide spread, leaving children to be cared for by other family members, government centers, or other institutions.
My time here - to be shared with you carefully - is to help expand capacity in the critical areas that help families stay together, return children to their families and promote for the development of a comprehensive and effective adoption and foster care system. I will engage key leaders over a seven day time here, conducting an assessment of present strengths and needs - identifying opportunities and then ending with a plan/strategy that will help these leaders carry forth in strengthening their efforts to bring and keep children in families.
I will not post pictures of people I meet, or places I go. The pictures here are from stock photos to just give you a view of the culture. Please pray for this beautiful country and their beautiful people.
- The Interfax reported the announcement by the Tajik Government Committee on Religious Affairs that over 99 percent of people in Tajikistan are Muslim.
- The landlocked, mountainous Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan gained independence when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.
- At this time, Tajikistan is still recovering from its civil war (1992 -1997) during which 50,000 died and more than 10% of the population fled the country, many to Kyrgyzstan. Although the economies of both states are growing, the gap between rich and poor is getting wider. The farmers do not grow sufficient food to feed everyone and the cost of imported food has skyrocketed since 2007. In Tajikistan some 80% of the population lacks food security. Many households depend on remittances from family members who have left to find work in Russia or Kazakhstan, which has been severely constrained due to the onset of the global economies crisis. In addition, in the rural areas, many children do not attend school regularly nor can they access treatment when they are ill.
- At least 8,000 children in Tajikistan live and work in the streets, where they are vulnerable to violence, sickness and coercion into the sex trade, drug trafficking or other crimes.
- Children's rights are still a new concept in Central Asia. Though Tajikistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993 and Kyrgyzstan in 1992 nbsp;, children are generally unaware that they possess rights, as are parents and community leaders in general. (Save the Children)
In the mean time, Lynn and my mother are serving in Kyrgyzstan -
- serving graduating orphans with continued skill building with the transitioning orphans of Jeremiah house;
- sharing with teams at Mercy Foundation; and
- building relationships with the little children at Dayspring;
- serving the seniors in Kemin; and
- preparing for the upcoming conference in the Fall....focused on finding families for orphans