All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan

Enable the children to come

I had Monday off for Constitution Day, so I arranged to meet with my friend Pam, who is a VSO volunteer (like Peace Corps for Europe) at her workplace. Pam is a social worker from the Isle of Man. She’s been placed in the Degmar Intonat, a home for children with mental disabilities.

Degmar is not a good place to grow up. I’m sure you can imagine, so I won’t dwell on it. But the kids I met were engaging and curious. Pam has a passion for enabling them to act to the best of their abilities. For some that may be as simple as walking around the grounds. But so many of them have untapped wells of creativity which I saw applied to this robot:

It’s all about vocation. We’re all made with different abilities, but we all have the right to use them to our fullest potential. It breaks my heart when institutions like this one just aren’t designed to nourish the children’s potential. A home-based assistance program would be miles better for these kids. But here they are, and Pam is working valiently to make their lives better. If I find a good way for you all in the states to be involved in helping these kids I will let you know. But what they need most is not material. They need love, attention and a chance to do what they do best, whatever that may be.


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