DUSHANBE, April 10, 2012, Asia-Plus – The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section of the U.S. Embassy and local partner NGO Dast ba Dast organized an anti-drug themed dance festival at the Mayakovski Theatre in Dushanbe on April 8, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe said.

Over the last three months, NGO Dast ba Dast recruited choreographers to assist students develop dances representing successful battles against drug addiction.  Each school presented a different interpretive dance that reflected the harmful nature of drug use and the joys of life without drugs. This project also established six sustainable dance clubs in Dushanbe.

The goal of the festival was to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and to develop healthy extra-curricular activities for students.  A total of 120 schoolchildren aged 12-17 from six Dushanbe schools participated in the festival.  Following the event, Dast ba Dast donated equipment to the dance clubs. Articles about the project activities and drug issues in Tajikistan were published, and five radio programs were aired on Radio Vatan, raising awareness of drug problems and advertising the festival.

A packed theatre of students and parents came to watch the festival.  The U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Sarah Penhune attended the performance and commended the kids on their performance, and called upon parents to discuss difficult subjects like drug abuse with their children.

The dance festival is part of the INL Drug Demand Reduction Program for 2011-2012.  Within the framework of this program, INL has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to local and international non-governmental organizations covering all four regions of Tajikistan.

The United States Government is committed to continuing its support and assistance to the people of Tajikistan.  Since 1992, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has provided approximately $984 million in programs that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education, economic growth, enhancing border security, strengthen rule of law, and combat drug trafficking.