In Pictures: Tajik Village Celebrates New School TAKE A LOOK

This summer, Udit village celebrated the completion and opening of a new school. The old school in this hard-to-reach mountain village had been on the verge of collapse. Too poor to repair the school on their own, the community contacted Central Asia Institute Tajikistan for help. With the support of friends from around the world, Central Asia Institute Tajikistan was able to step in and build a new school for the community just as they began to lose hope.

Travel with us to this rural Tajik village to see for yourself what your support and generosity made possible.

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast is the poorest and most isolated province in Tajikistan. Its high mountains and dangerous roads make accessing construction sites and transporting building materials difficult – one reason that new schools in this remote region are so rare.

The old Udit school was constructed in the 1960s by villagers, without the help of engineers or blueprints. Soviet-Era schools like this were designed to last up to 25 years.

After 25 years of use, the timber supports begin to decay, rooves bow, and the walls begin to buckle. Many schools, like the old school in Udit, continued to be used long past their expiration dates. Some have been in use for more than 50 years. As a result, they are falling apart.

In the old school, the damp air bred mold. Inhaling mold spores day-after-day, many of the children developed coughs.

When it rained or snowed studying in the school was too dangerous. Teachers and parents worried the roof would collapse. Classes were moved to teachers’ homes or cancelled as a result. In 1993 a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the region, causing children to run screaming from the school as the roof broke and classroom walls split.

Director of Central Asia Institute Tajikistan, Mahbuba Qurbonalieva, received a request for help from the Udit community and immediately began working on a plan to construct a new school. In 2018, she met with the deputy chairman of Ishkashim district, the district where Udit is located, to review the blueprints for the new school and her proposed course of action. The deputy chairman expressed his gratitude to Central Asia Institute Tajikistan for their willingness to help the community in its time of need.
In May 2018 construction on the new school began. Large stones had to be excavated to make room for the foundation. These excavated stones, and others from the nearby riverbed, were used to construct the walls of the school.
By September 2018 the school was coming together nicely, but it was still a race to complete the school before winter set in.

With the exterior almost finished, work on the inside of the school accelerated. While the old school’s interior was dark and damp, the new school would have a waterproof ceiling, natural light, and new warming stoves.

A new toilet, with separate sections for boys and girls, was also constructed. Hygienic latrines play a huge role in disease prevention and studies show that students with access to proper facilities are more likely to stay in school.

In December 2018, the school was finished and ready for classes to begin!

Thanks to supporters like you and the hard work of staff at Central Asia Institute Tajikistan, 52 children ages 2 to 11 are now learning in safe, warm, and dry classrooms.

This summer, the community threw a party to show their appreciation for the new school. Dancing, singing, speeches, and food were all part of the celebration. The community wanted supporters near and far to know how important this school is to them, allowing Tajik children to access quality education for generations to come.
“Education is life,” said Anoor, a longtime resident of Udit. Five of her children and the majority of her 12 grandchildren have or are currently going to school in the village. She was thrilled to see the new school up and running. “I want their lives to be more than just sitting at home. Education makes that possible.” She wiped tears out of her eyes and smiled a toothy grin as she watched the children of the village dance in front of their new school.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

Created By
Hannah Denys