A newly refurbished and equipped rehabilitation center was opened in Qubodiyon district of Khatlon province to provide services for children and persons with disabilities.

According to the European Union (EU) Delegation to Tajikistan, Mission East, in collaboration with two local implementing partners, Mehrgon and Ehyo va Dastgiri, and with funding from the European Union and CISU (Civil Society in Development), is implementing this project in six districts in Khatlon province.

The center will not only provide rehabilitation services for children with disabilities but will also train their families to continue the exercises at home with their children.  Family members will additionally be provided with legal support and information on how to access educational services, free social packages/benefits, relevant health services by a lawyer based at the center.  In future, the center will be linked with government agencies such as the State Agency of Social Protection and Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population of Tajikistan (MoHSPP).

This project reportedly forms part of the European Union’s wider efforts in Tajikistan to build local CSO and government capacity in the effective coordination, monitoring, and implementation of service delivery and to improve the fulfilment of rights of children and persons with disabilities and to raise awareness of disability rights.  Mission East, as the lead agency in the project, has been providing support and capacity-building to its project partner, Mehrgon, a Tajik Civil Society Organization (CSO).

The project is providing both technical capacity building, and linking the CSO (Mehrgon), Parent Support Groups and Associations of Parents with each other, as well as with the regional Community Based Rehabilitation Network to increase their influence on regional and national level policymaking.  This will enable the families of children and their representatives to hold duty-bearers accountable for the fulfilment of the rights of their children.

The rehabilitation center is well equipped with all necessary equipment and will offer social, health, pedagogical and psychological services to Children with Disabilities from Qubodiyon, Shahritous and Nosir-Khusrav districts.  It has the capacity to provide services for up to 157 children with another 183 being reached through the rehabilitation services offered through its outreach teams.

The EU Delegation says Khatlon is one of the most underserved regions in the country where access to social services is severely lacking.  Also, due to a low level of awareness of disability rights and prevailing socio-cultural taboos around disability, children with special needs reportedly do not receive relevant healthcare, therapy or rehabilitation, and households suffer additional hardship, in addition to the burden of care, from lost social and economic opportunities.  In many cases, children with disabilities and their families are not even registered to access the services they are entitled to or are not aware of existing services.

The inauguration ceremony was organized by Mission East in Tajikistan and its partner, Mehrgon and was attended by the representatives of the donor, the EU Delegation in Tajikistan, by the officials of a MoHSPP, district authorities, and local communities and other stakeholders.