CBM has been active in Tajikistan since 2002. Currently we are supporting CBR programmes advancing inclusive education for children with disabilities aiming at improving the qualitiy of life for them and their families. This includes capacity building for local teachers by offering regular seminars on inclusive education, CBR, speech therapy, learner-centered (active) education, and similar topics. CBM supports early intervention services and advocacy for access to mainstream schooling.

About Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a republic in Central Asia, bordering Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan, China and Afghanistan. Most of Tajikistan is mountainous with peeks reaching up to 7,500 meters. Most of Tajikistan's population belongs to the Persian-speaking Tajik ethnic group, who share language, culture and history with Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

The Republic of Tajikistan gained independence from Soviet Russia in 1991. Since the end of the civil war which lasted from 1992 to 1997, the country has stabilised and experienced economic growth reducing the poverty rate significantly, even though it is at a high level still.

Tajikistan as many of the CIS countries (Commonwealth of Independent States, former USSR) is dealing with major socio-economic changes and might become the only country in the Europe and Central Asia region not to achieve most of its Millennium Development Goals.

Tajikistan is prone to various natural disasters, including landslides, avalanches, floods and earthquakes. According to the World Bank, each year the country experiences about 50,000 landslides, 5,000 tremors and earthquakes, and hundreds of avalanches and debris flows.

Health care

Under the Soviet Union, health care was state owned, centrally managed, and focused on curative medicine, rather than on primary level care and health promotion. Since the collapse of the SU, especially during the civil war 1992-1997, there were severe cuts in health expenditure resulting in deterioration of infrastructure and services.

The war triggered mass emigration of physicians, the quality of medical education and investigation provided through the Tajik State Medical University in Dushanbe (TSMU) is poor due to a lack of funds, equipment and well-qualified teaching staff and patients often have to pay out of their own pocket to supplement the wages of doctors, a financial burden most patients cannot afford. According to the MoH, the country had  18.8 physicians per 10,000 and 2,413 primary health care units in 2006.

In the last few years there have been major public sector reforms with health care reforms formally launched in the late 1990s aiming at the reorientation of the system towards primary health care with a strong emphasis on health promotion and active community involvement in disease prevention.

Situation of children with disabilities

Physical therapist and infant boy at mobility training ©CBM
Early intervention at 'All about children' programme in Khujand, Tajikistan
Although the law of the republic of Tajikistan on 'Social rehabilitation of disabled in Tajikistan' includes the right on education for children with disabilities, there is no approach for education of disabled children in the system of general education implemented and there are no programmes for integration of these children into mainstream education by the government. As in other CIS countries, Tajikistan’s system still focuses on institutionalisation of children with disabilities, with the result that their access to education is generally limited. To date, most children  with disabilities study in specialised boarding schools, many of them in poor conditions.

The process of de-institutionalisation is a very slow one for countries in transition. The reality is that newly developed ‘gatekeeping’ services only prevent more children from coming into the system, they do not safeguard the welfare of children already living in institutions. Over 80 % of children in these institutions have no contact with their families.

One of the complicated tasks in the process of de-institutionalisation will be – in addition to the development of an integrative schooling system – the development of community-based programmes to raise awareness in the communities but also to work with parents of children with disabilities and show/provide alternative ways of upbringing rather than giving their children away to residential facilities.

Legislation on disabilities

The rights of people with disabilities, including mine survivors, to medical care, physical rehabilitation, socio-economic reintegration and pensions are protected by the Constitution of Tajikistan. National legislation supports social protection of people with disabilities, establishment of equal opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as realisation of rights and liberty by elimination of limitations directly related to the lives of people with disabilities, and states that children with disabilities have access to education, residence, professional development, health care and leisure.

Tajikistan has not yet signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities .

News and initiatives

Transforming lives

Video highlighting the changes for children with disabilities and their families


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