If you’re like most people, you have a wardrobe that many families in Tajikistan could not believe – shoes, boots, dress clothes, casual clothes, sports clothes, clothes that fit you and clothes that don’t, and clothes you’ve worn and some with the price tags still on them!
In Tajikistan, students sometimes don’t attend school in the wintertime because they simply don’t have warm clothes to wear. Spending money on warm clothes for each child often means families have to go without food. The Central Region office of Operation Mercy Tajikistan delivers sweaters and boots to students in schools where principals have requested aid for the neediest families. In return for the clothing, families must agree that their children will attend school.
Recently, two local staff members visited three village schools in the region around the capital city. They were in the evaluation phase of this project and were following up on the attendance records of students who received winter clothing. During this trip, the staff members also delivered clothing for older students who had not yet received any.
This winter, there has been a huge demand and urgent need for winter clothes and boots. The schools visited during this trip lie at a higher elevation where it is very cold. Earlier in the winter when the staff were there delivering clothes, they saw students wearing flip flops and short sleeves!
The principal of one of the schools told how she was in the hospital for several weeks in January. A parent of one of her students works there as a custodian. The principal said, “The woman came to me and cried as she told me how much the clothes mean to her and to her son.”