Dilorom is teaching how to rehabilitate children with disabilities.

Dilorom works to help children and lift whole communities

When we support families with children with disabilities, we help the whole person, the whole family and the whole community, says Dilorom Ashurova, Mission East's Program Manager in Tajikistan.

- I have worked with livelihood, relief, economic development and gender, but only when I started in Mission East, I became involved in the rehabilitation of children with disabilities, and that's just me! tells Dilorom Ashurova, who is Tajik herself.

She has a master's degree in business management from Mysore University in India and has extensive experience in development work for e.g. Oxfam, Caritas, EU, USAID/Chemonics and MSDSP (Aga-Khan Foundation). But the rehabilitation work in Mission East is different, she has discovered since she got the job as program manager two years ago:

- I discovered that the work was more challenging and more satisfying for me than other development work. Because with rehabilitation and inclusion, we help the whole person, both mentally and physically. We help the whole family, who may otherwise be powerless with a child who is either physically or mentally challenged. And we lift entire communities, as the knowledge parents gain through our training spreads like rings in the water to neighbors and friends and other families in similar situations.

Deeply moved to meet vulnerable families

Mission East has been working in Tajikistan since 1997 - first with emergency aid and then with water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as rehabilitation of children with disabilities.

Teams from local partner organizations travel to the villages and discover children with disabilities who otherwise live in hiding from the outside world. The parents learn how to practice with the children so that they develop their abilities. In special cases, the children can also come to the rehabilitation center for a period of time.

- When you get acquainted with these vulnerable local communities and start working with the children who are living with a disability, you discover the importance of inclusion work. That the support for the families spreads like rings in the water and lifts the whole community, says Dilorom.

- The work makes a lot of sense and it touches my heart deeply. When you experience how the children cry and the parents are powerless and then how they get tools to help mobility or lifting the children and exercises so that the children become better at moving, well then it dawns on you how important a job we perform in Mission East.

Knowledge and encouragement spread like rings in the water

How does it affect the local community?

- It does this, for example, by the children's mothers sharing their knowledge from our training with their neighbors and friends, who are not aware of what can be done to help the children thrive and develop better. Then they also want to know more and ask if they can join the parent groups. That way, the work grows like rings in the water.

Dilorom Ashurova is happy to work for Mission East, which she says has a good reputation in Tajikistan.

- You should just know how much it encourages the parents that their child, who may not have said a single sound, suddenly starts saying something. Or that their child is starting to be able to eat properly. Or that the child can now move around in a way it could not before. It creates joy in the family, which they also like to share with their neighbors. And along with the good news, they can also share their knowledge and experience, which then benefits other of the village families in the same situation.