“Every person is unique”: Working with Vulnerable to Help them Live Better

Umedakhon Pulotova is alumna  of  2017,  MA  Programme  in    Economic    Governance    and   Development   from   Tajikistan.   Currently  Umedakhon  is  working  as  Project  Coordinator  in  two  projects  in  the  health-focused  NGO  “Ranginkamon”   in   Khujand,   Tajikistan.

Q: Dear Umedakhon, please tell us about “Ranginka-mon”. What are its main goals and objectives?

“Ranginkamon”   is   a   Tajik   word   which    means    “Rainbow”.    NGO    “Ranginkamon”     was     established     in  2000.  The  main  mission  of  the  organization  is  to  support  the  inclusion   of   children   with   disabilities  in  the  society  through  the  revitalization  of  family  members  of  these   children,   the   establishment   of    rehabilitation    centres,    education  and  training  of  specialists,  and  the  organization  of  support  in  order  to  create  an  inclusive  society. Since  the  beginning  of  its  activities,  members    of    Ranginkamon    have    implemented  25  large  and  partner  projects  worth  over  $  1,500,000.  Financial   support   was   provided   by   international  organizations  such  as:  UNICEF,   the   European   Commission,  the  SOROS  Foundation,  Caritas-Germany,   Save   the   Children,   Mission   East,   Public   Foundation “FSDS  Kyrgyzstan”,  the  Social  Protection Agency of Tajikistan with the Ministry  of  Health  and  Social  Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan. The  main  results  of  our  activity  are  that  now  the  parents  are  not  hiding  and  shy  of  their  disabled  children;  parents began to communicate with each  other;  improved  attendance  of  children  with  disabilities  and  girls  in   public   schools,   kindergartens;   Parents of Children with disabilities have their own legal organization to ensure  the  rights  of  their  children  and  to  empower  other  parents  with  disabled  children;  more  than  300  disabled  children  and  their  parents  received  free  classes  on  movement,  speech and behavioral therapy; 4 inclusive  schools  and  4  inclusive  kindergartens were opened in 4 rural areas. A memorandum of cooperation is signed between Ranginkamon and the  Ministry  of  Health  and  Social  Development  of  Tajikistan  for  the  implementation and development of the  early  Intervention  programme  at the peripheral level with comprehensive social care and support. The programme includes five main areas of  early  childhood  development  for  early  intervention:  medical  screening  and  care,  healthy  feeding  and  nutrition,  safe  surroundings,  education, social support for the family and  the  child.  Ranginkamon  is  the  coordinator of the Council from the beginning  of  its  creation  to  today.  Every   year   we   have   trainers/specialists  from  abroad,  such  as  Israel,  Germany, Ireland to train and teach our  local  specialists  to  new  skills.

Q: The work that Ranginka-mon implements is very important. How did you become part of this organi-zation?

To  be  honest,  it  was  unexpected.  While still being in Bishkek, preparing  for  the  defence  of  my  master’s  thesis  (in  early  December  2017),  I  saw on the site of job seekers an advertisement  for  the  vacancy  “Project  Coordinator”  in  Khujand  on  a  partnership  project  with  FSDS  Kyr-gyzstan  and  Bread  for  the  World  (Germany)  to  the  project  “Inclusive  Society for All”. After reviewing the description of the activity, I sent my CV and cover letter. A week later the employer replied to me and assigned a  Skype  interview,  I  passed  the  interview. I still remember that it was the 15 of December they emailed me that  interview  was  successful  and  I  was  hired.  Everything  was  right  away:  I  did  defend  my  thesis,  soon  graduation   ceremony,   and   a   new   job. I did not expect to be hired, because  I  had  more  experience  in  the  banking  sector,  but  no  experience  with  social  projects.  So,  I  returned  from   the   Academy   on   December   17,   and   on   December   19   already   went  to  work  -  As  they  say  “from  the  ship  immediately  to  the  ball”.))

Q: What are your responsi-bilities?

Right  now,  I  am  working  as  a  project  coordinator  within  two  projects  “Inclusive  society  for  disabled  children.  Phase  2”  and  “Reducing  the  risk of childhood disability through improving  food  security  and  early  intervention  in  vulnerable  families  of  B.  Gafurov  district  of  the  Sugd  region”.  The  objectives  of  the  first  project are to promote that children with  disabilities  in  Tajikistan  have  equal  and  barrier-free  access  to  all  public  services,  such  as  health  services,  education,  poverty  reduction,  cultural and religious activities, and social  relations.  The  goal  of  the  second  project  is  aimed  at  maintaining  food  security  of  120  vulnerable  households   with   limited   incomes,   having children from 0 to 3 years of age,  lagging  behind  in  development  due  to  malnutrition.  My  responsibilities are: Participation in strategic management, in the direction of the programme,  collection  of  data  for  general and overall reporting, representation,  participation,  design  and  monitoring of the programme, communication  with  donors  and  stakeholders,   problem   solving,   current   correspondence, logistics, collection of  documentation  and  materials  for  approval,   participation   in   budgeting and control over the distribution of  financial  resources.  I  was  lucky  that  I  had  a  chance  to  represent  our   organization   in   4th   Asia-Pacific   Community   Based   Inclusive   Development  Congress  which  took  place   in   Ulaanbaatar   city,   Mongolia  from  1  to  4  July  2019  year.

Q: What part of your work do you like most?

I like every part of the project where I  am  working.  I  think  that  help-ing   disabled   children   to   develop   their  skills,  prepare  these  children  to  enter  society,  to  support  families  with  disabled  children  to  become  change-makers  in  their  own  communities,  helping  them  to  join  social  and  public  programmes,  and  starting  community  level  activities  is the best practice what I am doing.

Q:  How did it change your values and perception of the world?

Тo  be  honest,  a  lot  has  changed  in  my  perception  of  the  world  and  in  my  values.  I  don’t  know  how  to  say  it  right,  but  working  in  this  project  with  vulnerable  families,  children  with  developmental  problems,  I  realized  that  each  person  is  unique  and  that’s  his  value.  I  think  every  life  trifle  is  another  lesson  learned  by  a  person,  and  the  value  of  life  is  that the person gains life experience from  it,  which  makes  him  wiser.