Tajikistan has few health and social safety nets - 30% of the GDP comes from foreign remittances, which are fast drying up.
Children living in institutional care, children with disability and developmental delay who live with their families, and families in difficult life situations are all extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. Many of these children and adults are frail and would find it hard to recover from an infection. All our beneficiaries live on the edge of coping, and cannot withstand the social and economic hardships of the of the pandemic.
- In early March when community transmission became clear, we devised a plan to continue support for children and families remotely. We arranged to conduct our safer care and development programmes over the internet and by telephone to families at home.
- Our local partners have done a fantastic job to make sure that each child has a care plan that can be put into practice by parents at home, with the remote support of a key worker.
- We have given training about how to stay safe and healthy, setting up support groups for parents over the internet, and making generally available information about keeping safe during the pandemic.
- We have shared our plan with the government who have adapted it for use in their residential care homes for older children.
- We are particularly aware that during the pandemic, the risk of children being subjected to violence, abuse and neglect, and women to domestic abuse has increased. We have therefore asked UK Aid to help us fund a hotline for people in crisis to call.
- With the help of the British Embassy in Tajikistan, we are providing tablet devices for video calls to link the 210 children under 7 who are quarantined in residential care with their parents. This will diminish the harm on child development of separation from parents.
- Our funders have been quick to support our work and keep our beneficiaries safe. UK Aid and the British Embassy in Dushanbe have given local partners money to buy personal protective equipment for families of particularly vulnerable children and staff in five institutions caring for children under 7, as well as extra money to buy emergency food for families in crisis.
What you can do
Our funds are very limited and will run out long before the pandemic ends. If you are able, please make a donation that will directly support vulnerable children and families. Any donation, no matter how small, will make a huge difference to those most at risk during these uncertain times.