Our Stories

I don’t have a door number…because I don’t have a gate…

In preparation to provide families food packages and vitamin C our team member called Lola’s mother, and asked if she could confirm her door number and address. ‘

Our team member: What is your door number?

Lola’s mother: We don’t have door number because we don’t have a door or gate around our house…

For me it was shocking and I had further conversation with Lola’s mother who in tears was describing me her life story…

Lolas lives in the  Devashtich district of Northern Tajikistan. She is such a ray of sunshine, she radiates such positive energy which flows from her to others. Everywhere she goes, she loves to give warm hugs and kisses. However, the only person that Lola doesn’t give a hug and doesn’t want to, is her…Father! 

Lola’s parents are divorced and she has two older brothers. When she was born with Down syndrome her father rejected her and left the family but he lives opposite their self-built house. The house which you can see a lot in poor Tajik villages, is made of mud…clay.. The family doesn’t even have a kitchen in the self- built house, they just use a little basement ‘as a kitchen’. 

The father is so close yet faraway from them. He doesn’t support the family or even ask how his children are doing. Lola feels all of this and even when her mother sometimes tells her to go and give a hug to her father, perhaps his heart will open up to his daughter…but Lola refuses…the girl that gives hugs to literally everyone!

Lola is very talented, she dances beautifully, recites poems and her speech is very advanced for a girl with Down syndrome in Tajikistan. All of this because of her wonderful mother who dedicated her life to Lola and her development. Instead of giving her lots of unnecessary drugs/medicine which usually are prescribed to a child with DS in Tajikistan, Lola’s mother realised that her daughter doesn’t need all of those medicines but worked with her day and night! (We will share soon a video of Lola dancing and reciting a poem).  

A really remarkable single mother who raised her children on her own, not giving up and getting stronger every day! We are very proud of her and will continue supporting Lola and her family with food packages and vitamin C every month during this critical situation in Tajikistan with COVID-19. This food packages are vital for their survival! 

Our Stories

Zara’s experience with Nazari Digar

My name is Zara Whiteside, and I am from the UK. I was studying in Dushanbe for two months this year, and I am a volunteer with Nazari Digar. During my time in Tajikistan, myself and four of my friends on my course got involved with Nazari Digar and wanted to help in any way we could. 

We were asked by Nazari Digar to make a series of films, dedicated to the children of Tajikistan with Down Syndrome, showing that these beautiful children are not defined by the fact they have Down Syndrome, and that they have hobbies just like any other child without the condition. This was ahead of the 21st March, which is World Down Syndrome Day, where we wanted to include 21 children and their parents, talking about the qualities and hobbies of the children. This is because people with Down Syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome, compared to those without the condition.

In Dushanbe, we filmed 6 children, they radiated happiness and a beautiful energy and excitement as we filmed them around the mall. It was lovely to see Yusufjon, and also Musjjon, playing with their brothers, which we got on film, and to see the amazing relationship they have. Likewise the parents gave us some beautiful words about their children, and despite some seeming a bit nervous, like Yosinjon’s mother, what they had to say was truly heartwarming. The strength these mothers have is extremely evident, as there are a lot of challenges to be faced in raising a child with Down Syndrome, and the bond these parents have with their children is so deep, like that between Ruqiyajon and her mother. 

The whole experience of filming these children was so special and incredibly touching. It was a privilege to be able to talk to the parents, and to have them open up about their child and the experiences of bringing them up.

Despite complications with travel arrangements due to coronavirus, we were still able to get the film completed by the 21st March, in time for World Down Syndrome Day, and you can now view it on the website with both Russian and English subtitles. Please see the result of our Team work on producing the video clip with my friends below.