History of Mission East in Tajikistan | Mission East

History of Mission East in Tajikistan

Emergency help reaches Tadjikistan
Kithcen gardens in Tajikistan

From emergency food aid to long-term development. In the autumn 2007 Mission East had been in Tajikistan for ten years. 

September 2007
"When we got off the plane our luggage was already on the runway. The plane closed the doors behind us and took off right away without any new passengers. There was no passport control. No customs officers."

"While we were on the plane, fighting in the country had broken out again, for the first time in several months. We didn’t know, but other relief organisations had left the country. The streets were deserted. Only soldiers were to be seen."

The above was written by Kenneth Whitelaw-Jones, an early Country Director in Tajikistan, about the time we first decided to bring emergency aid to the country. This fall marks 10 years since that event.

The taxi driver refused to drive Kenneth all the way to the Mission East office. It was too dangerous. Instead Kenneth grabbed his suitcase and walked the rest of the way, passing armed soldiers and tanks at the ready. Mission East had taken on a task and was not about to let the Tajiks down. Kenneth had come to manage the distribution of an emergency aid shipment from the Danish government. Before long the first shipment arrived and Mission East was able to provide food supplies to 40,000 people.

60 percent live beneath the poverty line
Ten years on, the changes in Tajikistan are remarkable – stability has returned and economic growth posts promising indicators. However, it is still the poorest country from the former Soviet Union. Out of Tajikistan’s population of approximately seven million people 60 percent still live beneath the poverty line. There is no doubt that the people of this country have been through an awful lot and that they still suffer the consequences of the breakdown of the Soviet Union, several years of civil war, and the collapse of the economy.

But in the dark, Mission East has been able to bring a little light to many of the country’s poorest. This year, it has been ten years since we first reacted to the overwhelming need in the country.

In 1997 our efforts were focused on keeping people alive by distributing food aid. Today we are providing thousands of families with a foundation to support themselves by giving them access to clean drinking water and sharing essential skills in areas such a agriculture and hygiene.

Mission East was the first Danish aid organisation in Tajikistan and is today the only Danish organisation with its own projects.