Dushanbe (Agenzia Fides) - The Tajik Church is helping people who have lost their jobs after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the Central Asian country. According to the Central Asian Bureau for Analytical Reporting, about one million migrants leave Tajikistan every year to look for work abroad, mainly in Russia. The phenomenon came to a complete halt in 2020 due to the closure of borders as a result of the pandemic, which forced many workers with expiring visas to return, leaving their families with a lack of main income, which previously consisted of remittances from relatives abroad.
With this in mind, Caritas tries to help Tajikistan: "We try to help returnees create new job opportunities and reintegrate into the community. We provide help in the search for a job, but also with bureaucratic matters related to funding applications. We also take care of giving initial support for setting up small businesses".
As the note reports, "during 2020 the number of returning migrants increased significantly. There are many workers waiting for our support, but we have already completed the reintegration with fifteen of them". Among the returnees there was Farhod Islomov, who returned home after a long period in Europe: "When Farhod returned from Germany, he planned to reopen his retail shop for clothes and accessories. In the beginning, he had to bear very high costs to return to his homeland and to reintegrate into his community. In collaboration with Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Belgium, the Tajik charity supported Farhod by helping him draw up a business plan and cover the initial costs. This is how he managed to open his shop in the central market of Kulyab, his hometown".
The Catholic Church in Tajikistan exists in a 98% Muslim context: there are currently around 100 believers spread across the two parishes of Dushanbe and Qurǧonteppa. There have been Catholics in Tajikistan since the 1970s: the first believers were mainly Germans from Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, who were deported to the country during the time of the Soviet Union. For years, without communist leadership, the Catholic communities in Tajikistan had no contact with the universal church. In order to give structure to the local Catholic presence, Pope John Paul II founded the Missio sui iuris on September 29, 1997. As early as 1983, smaller groups had launched charitable initiatives that officially merged into Caritas from 2004 onwards. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/1/2021)