Handicap International has been working in Tajikistan to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities. In particular, it has strengthened the care and services provided to children with disabilities and helped disabled people’s organisations campaign for their rights.
© C. Meynier / Handicap International
Handicap International’s first project in Tajikistan was in 2010, working to facilitate access to social, healthcare and education services for children with disabilities in the Khatlon region. Each child was given an individual action plan including exercises and activities designed to improve their capabilities. At the same time, disability awareness training was provided to professionals working in the fields of healthcare, education and social work and to the children’s local communities (villages, schools, etc.).
Work to make public premises more accessible to people with disabilities was also undertaken, including the construction of access ramps in health centres in two towns.
In addition, Handicap International provided training for disabled people’s organisations, enabling them to build a network to campaign for the rights of people with disabilities at every level of Tajik society.
Tajikistan is a poor country where the rights of the persons with disabilities are not recognised.
From 1992 to 1997, the country was ravaged by a devastating civil war. Its social infrastructure and economy were partially destroyed and, according to official estimates, 50,000 people died and several hundred thousand people fled their homes because of the conflict.
Despite signs of economic recovery, particularly over the last decade, Tajikistan remains the poorest country in the Central Asia region. Its social protection and health systems are particularly fragile, and its infrastructure requires heavy investment.
The country also experiences difficult climatic conditions, in addition to regular earthquakes and landslides, giving rise to regular humanitarian catastrophes, as at the end of winter of 2007/2008.
The first victims of this state of fragility are the most vulnerable populations, and first and foremost people with disabilities, who are poorly integrated into their country’s social and economic activities.