Maria graduated and will now be a lawyer - despite muscular dystrophy

Managing Director Betina Gollander-Jensen met Maria in the Tajik city of Kulob, where Mission East supports a rehabilitation center for children with disabilities. Maria suffers from muscular dystrophy, but has still been able to complete the high school exam with top grades and must now study law at university.

Betina Gollander-Jensen met Maria when she visited the local partner organization Zarshedabonu, which Mission East has supported for 10 years. Maria was one of the first children with disabilities to benefit from help and support from the organization.

- I met 19-year-old Maria and heard her story. She suffers from muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. When Mission East and Zarshedabonu first met her, she did not go to school and no-one knew what was wrong. She just sat at home doing nothing. But with the help of Mission East, Maria saw a doctor, who diagnosed her, provided the right aids and supported her to go to school and learn to read.

- Today, when I talk to her, she has become a young woman full of confidence, despite her disability. She sits in a gray suit and looks like a young woman on her way to adulthood. And that's Maria. For she has just received some of the highest grades in high school and will move in a few weeks to the capital Dushanbe to study law. Later, it is the dream to become a lawyer. Without the help of Mission East, she would have continued to sit at home and do nothing, she says.

And it is not only Maria who has been inspired, says Betina Gollander-Jensen during the visit to Kulob:

- Maria's mother has also become involved by becoming the front person for the parent group of parents of children with disabilities. The group supports the children's right to be treated with dignity and to be allowed to go to school.

Betina Gollander-Jensen continues her journey around Tajikistan and tells fresh news from Mission East's relief work in the country.

Picture: Maria is on the left in the picture. Her name has changed, but Mission East knows her identity.