A small but dynamic non-profit organisation called Sadoqat is bringing big changes to people’s lives in rural Tajikistan. If you are planning to visit this beautiful country, why not drop by and see its projects, and even do some voluntary work as you pass through?
Imagine a child going to school and having nowhere to sit in class. That was the case for schoolchildren in the village of Ghazantarak in northern Tajikistan, until Sadoqat got involved. Using donations from individuals via a Global Giving campaign and grants from the German Embassy and the Zeppelin Tajikistan company, Sadoqat stepped up when the local community appealed for help after starting to build new classrooms but running out of funds. Sadoqat helped construct and equip two new classrooms in the school, which previously had room for 360 students but had 554 children attending. That’s a life-changing experience for the children, who now get a good start in life as they learn in comfort.
“Previously the classrooms were overcrowded due to the excessive number of students and lack of seats in the school,” said Haqiqat Isroilova, a grateful parent. “Thanks to the support of NGO Sadoqat now our children have access to very comfortable and well-equipped classrooms. We parents believe this will enable the teachers to cover the students more effectively and the students will gain a good education.”
Sadoqat also helps people in the rural districts of Istaravshan, Shahriston and Devashtich in Soghd province access decent healthcare. It has helped refurbish the Devashtich District Central Hospital, which was in such a dilapidated state that the authorities had banned it from conducting surgery in the operating theatre. Sadoqat helped replace the sanitation system, bringing running water to wards, renovated the electricity system and installed new doors and windows.
“The intensive care unit of this hospital was in a dire situation,” said Nigora Negmatullaeva, Sadoqat’s director. “Now the renovated unit offers comfortable wards with tile-covered floors, air conditioners and most importantly improved hygiene facilities, which is very important for prevention of nosocomial infection.” This is part of Sadoqat’s goal of bridging “a development gap
between rural and urban areas”, she said. The clue to Sadoqat’s work is in its name: it means ‘dedication’ and symbolises the non-profit’s dedication to serving the Tajik people.
“I did not recognise the hospital units, as if they had constructed new facilities,” said Saodat, local resident, of the refurbishment. “I see that the wards are very fresh, the water is available in wards and the hygiene facilities are in line with standards. This is what any patient needs as a part of access to quality healthcare. I am grateful to Sadoqat NGO for their dedication and support to
improve the conditions of rural hospitals.”
The medics are delighted, too. “The scarce budget resources cover mainly the wages, leaving little to no money for maintenance of physical infrastructure,” said chief physician Karomat Saidova. “We highly appreciate the support of NGO Sadoqat in improvement of our units, which is very timely. Now we can confidently perform surgery in the renovated operating theatres, meeting the
healthcare standards, and offer better quality treatment to the patients, which is key to ensuring the public health. We extend our gratitude to the NGO Sadoqat and look forward to continued cooperation with them and other donors to improve the healthcare services in our district.”
Sadoqat was launched in 2000, when Tajikistan was emerging from a “devastating civil war” and Tajik society “had a serious need for rehabilitation”, said Ms Negmatullaeva. Its goal is to work directly with local communities “to improve the living standards of rural people in remote areas of Tajikistan through thoughtful, structured practices and sustainable partnerships”.
Foreign visitors to Tajikistan can come and see the projects for themselves, and even try their hand at some volunteering. “The area of our operation is a part of the Silk Road, which played an important role for dialogue of civilisations and trade development in the past,” explained Ms Negmatullaeva.
“We would be very happy to see foreign volunteers and visitors visiting our projects to witness how we improved the conditions of local residents with the support of our generous donors and help us further improve and continue our efforts.” As she points out, visitors “could combine the pleasant with the useful, i.e. both visit the Silk Road route district of Istaravshan and see the changes we have made.”
Visit Sadoqat’s Global Giving page to learn more about its work and make a donation.