April is a busy month at universities across Tajikistan, but this did not stop FLEX Alumni from implementing five Global Youth Service Day projects to join in on the international celebration of youth and service. Check out the creativity these alumni put into supporting their community!
Say No to Alcoholism
FLEX alumnus Behruz Gharibov ’19 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/ Albia, IA) held a training at the American Space Dushanbe for 15 high school students to learn about the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. The day prior to the training, Behruz and health specialist Elena Khasanova were interviewed by a local radio station, Radio Vatan, about their project, thus spreading the message to a larger audience.
The Tajikistan FLEX Alumni community organized a charity concert at the restaurant “The Place” on April 25 to support a local, community-run animal shelter. The concert featured the band VAST which includes FLEX alumnus Muhammadali Baratov ’17 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/ Belle Plaine, KS), that performed 10 vocal and dance performances for a crowd of 40 people. Alumni raised $80 in ticket sales, which went to buy food and medicine the animals at the shelter. The event was covered by Iran International TV: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1274949149337217
Book Exchange Festival
On April 22, alumni held a book exchange festival at the American Space and Makerspace Dushanbe. American Councils Tajikistan and the festival-goers contributed over 400 books to this event, from which the participants were free to pick. The event brought new visitors to the American Space and encouraged reading! Many local businesses supported this event as well; the Bactria Cultural Center provided live music, the Yumenoki Art Club offered face painting for children, and the Coffee Moose Café donated coupons for free coffees.
Though most Book Exchange Festival participants went home with new books to treasure, several books were leftover after the close of this event. The inventive FLEX Alumni community in Tajikistan, still inspired by the GYSD campaign, decided to hold a garage sale featuring these leftover books the following weekend. Selling the books resulted in a profit of over $120, which the alumni donated to support the creation of a “Little Library” in Vahdat. NSLI-Y alumna Abigail Goldman is spearheading this little library project in July 2019 with the support of the FLEX Alumni community.
English Classes at Hissor Orphanage
After meeting a student at Tajik National University who thanked FLEX alumni for teaching him English while he was living at the Hissor Orphanage, Tajikistan FLEX Alumni Coordinator Zarnigor Faizimahmadzoda ’17 (Dushnabe, Tajikistan/ Buckhannon, WV) decided it was time to revive this initiative. On April 27, Zarnigor and Behruz Gharibov ’19 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/ Albia, IA) began their weekly visits to the Hissor orphanage to teach English classes. These classes have continued to be a weekly event, sparking unparalleled joy in the participants and organizers alike.
Written by Zarnigor Faizimahmadzoda ’17