Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, more than 600 Afghan students studying in Tajikistan are going through difficulties. Worried for their families who are left back in their country and unable to get in touch with them (some having fled), the students also no longer receive any financial assistance, and returning home means facing uncertainties. Students can attend class, but they are legally not able to be employed, and so they often have no idea where their next meal is coming from. Many students are also struggling with depression and are contemplating suicide as they find themselves in a situation with little hope of returning to their homes or seeing their families again.
Operation Mercy’s partners in Tajikistan, together with student leaders, have created a project to address both the immediate physical needs and the longer term mental and emotional stressors facing these students.
The major goals of the project include:
- Providing basic food and hygiene necessities along with health and safety trainings.
- Supporting emotional health through positive relational development, social interaction and topical discussions allowing for mutual respect.
- Preventing psychological crisis by providing peer interaction and professional counseling to address depression and suicide.
- Encouraging professional & personal development by providing both career specific training that supports continued education and special interest seminars that build life skills.
- Creating social capacity for peer support and mutual assistance through small group meetings that facilitate the building of relationships.
- Motivating diligence by encouraging the students to complete their course work to maintain their tuition scholarships with the Tajikistan government, allowing them to continue their degree programs in the future.
Our hope is that through providing physical necessities as well as psychological, social and academic support; hope, capacity and community will be restored and built in Afghan students in Tajikistan!