Russian Church launches program for assistance to poor, elderly, single mothers in Tajikistan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, August 8, 2018

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The Synodal Department for Charity of the Russian Orthodox Church has launched the “Help for Our Compatriots in Tajikistan” program, aimed at providing assistance to people in difficult life situations—single mothers, low-income families, single retirees, and the disabled, reports the department’s website.

There are plans to set up a free café in the Dushanbe Diocese for feeding the needy, to organize the purchase and distribution of food packages for the poor in more remote areas, to set up humanitarian aid centers, and to help in arranging a boarding school for children from disadvantaged families.

The department has already begun its work with a fundraiser on its website towards the establishment of the free café and the provision of food to the poor in remote settlements. The department will send the collected funds to the Diocese of Dushanbe to distribute the funds as needed.

“We only recently learned how bad life is for our compatriots, Russian Orthodox people in Tajikistan. An employee of our Department for Church Charity, Polina Yufereva, went there recently. She spoke with elderly people living alone whose pensions do not exceed $30 (2,000 rubles), and the majority of their pension is given to pay for utilities. She saw how single mothers who can’t find work live. Their children almost never get any protein. Many people don’t have enough money for full, wholesome meals,” the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Charity Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevsk remarked.

The Dushanbe Diocese has been organizing free lunches for the poor on weekends and holidays since 2012, though it consists only of a main course, as there are not enough funds for more.

The Synodal Department for Charity also earlier sent $4,680 (300,000 rubles) to the needy of the Dushanbe Diocese in April, the funds being used to purchase food packages for patients of the psychiatric hospital, pay for treatments, and help the poor.

According to data from July, Tajikistan has the lowest real salary level of all countries in the post-Soviet space.

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