Members of the Jamat in Tajikistan are helping their communities — which are at high risk of natural disasters — as part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), an integral part of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH)'s emergency management activities.

AKAH provides ongoing support and training to CERTs, in line with its mission to reinforce community disaster resilience and emergency management capacity. Shirinshoev Saidimron, a 53-year-old resident of Shujand village of Rushon District in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) of Tajikistan, has been a volunteer member of a CERT for nine years. Today, he is the team leader of his CERT, helping his community prepare for disasters and providing emergency assistance when they strike. 

When Shirinshoev learned about the Covid-19 pandemic and its spread to Tajikistan, he wanted to contribute to help protect his community. From his own savings, he purchased fabric and asked a fellow CERT volunteer to sew masks, which he is distributing for free across his community. 

“I believe people should support each other during difficult times and contribute what they have at their disposal,” said Shirinshoev, highlighting the importance of CERT volunteers in raising awareness and supporting their community in whatever way possible. 

Another member of the team, Ghulomidinov Navruzshoh, was also inspired to act after seeing people continue about their daily lives without any protective equipment, because masks were not available in his village. He also purchased fabric, which he gave to three other residents of his village, to sew masks to distribute for free in his village. His goal is to provide everyone with a mask in his small village called Emc in the Rushon District. 

Even before the first official cases of Covid-19 were identified in Tajikistan, Ghulomidinov used his own resources to clean and disinfect the school where all the children of his village attend. 

Speaking about his motivation, he talks of an “inner power, a desire to help others in this difficult situation when people are in need of basic protective items, such as masks. It is a barakat (blessing) when you help others.” 

Ghulomidinov, a veterinarian, has been a volunteer CERT member serving his community since 2010. He hopes that the situation will improve soon around the world and in Tajikistan. In the meantime, he will continue to help his community face this crisis as he has with others before. He and his fellow CERT members are providing critical information to communities, promoting Covid-19 awareness, and protection measures including handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing.