Caritas Tajikistan (CT) is the national Catholic Church’s fledgling social-service agency that focuses its efforts on children in need, the elderly, the homeless and the disabled in this former Soviet republic. With a Catholic community numbering around 1,000, most of the aid to support the Church’s charitable efforts and Caritas development projects is funded from abroad. The organisation’s office was opened in April 2007.
“’We carry out small projects with a great deal of love (namely caritas)’ is the slogan of our young organisation,” said Father Pedro Ramiro Lopez, president of Caritas Tajikistan.
Caritas Tajikistan implements WASH, emergency response, healthcare, social and educational development projects.
These activities are the outcome of cooperation with Care International and Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Germany, Caritas Luxembourg and Caritas Italy.
Caritas Tajikistan emergency aid projects are complemented by long-term sustainable development programmes that provide sanitation facilities and water access to suburban and rural communities. The organisation’s WASH projects are well known in Khatlon province in the south of the country, where in 2016 access to clean drinking water was improved for 9,000 people in Jomi district.
Caritas Tajikistan’s health programmes help children affected by illnesses such as cancer and congenital abnormality, and play a vital role in providing medical equipment to children’s hospitals. CT is supported in this area by Caritas Luxembourg, and carries out its projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
Homeless, disabled, poor and elderly people are taken care of by CT projects, with vital support provided by Caritas Germany and Caritas Italy. CT has been running a social centre for poor elderly people in Dushanbe for six years (2009–2016), and a special services centre for homeless people has been operating for three years.
From 2012 to 2015, Caritas Tajikistan was able to provide humanitarian relief to the poor and marginalised population of northern Afghanistan. When catastrophic mudslides struck Badakhshan IRA in 2015, destroying hundreds of homes, Caritas Tajikistan and Caritas agencies intervened to provide families with first aid, food and non-food items.
Caritas Tajikistan’s national office is located in Dushanbe, and has a staff of 14 (including part-time employees) and five volunteers.
Caritas Tajikistan is affiliated with Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia and receives support from the global Caritas network, including Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Luxembourg, Caritas Germany and Caritas Italy. Assistance from CRS and Caritas Germany has facilitated acquisition of a new office building for CT projects.