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Tajikistan: No Harvests, No Income, No School

"We produced some vegetables on our land in the past, but during the last few years we did not get any harvest due to the lack of rain and locust infestation."
-- Akramova Saparoi

The mother of seven children ranging from 3 to 18 years old, Akramova Saparoi has no sustainable income. Two of her daughters are not being sent to school, although they should be in grades 9 and 11, because there's no money to cover the expenses of education.  The younger boy, in grade 5, is the only child going to school.

"I want to have a job," Saparoi says, "but there is no possibility of getting a paying job in our village."

Although the family has access  to a half-hectare of non-irrigated land, there have been no harvests for two years.

"We produced some vegetables on our land in the past, but during the last few years we did not get any harvest due to the lack of rain and locust infestation. I thought my son who is 18 would go to Russia and bring us back some money, but he returned very sick and now we have to find money for his treatment. I have already asked my relative who gave some 200 somoni for his treatment (about US$60) but this is still not enough."

The son, Shohnazar, had intended to work as a migrant in Russia and send back money to the family.  When he became ill and had to return, he was hospitalized.

"Our family relies on assistance from relatives," says his mother. "Most of the days we have only one meal."

Saparoi, 43, lives in the Rudaki district village of Safedchashma, in a house without roofing slates.  They can inhabit only two small rooms.

WFP assistance has arrived in the January 2009 distribution cycle, in the form of wheat flour, vegetable oil, pulses and iodised salt for the family. 

WFP Creative Advisor and Muti-Media Manager Porter Anderson edited this report. The information was gathered on-site in the field by Azam Bahorov.