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SICA Success Stories

Pioneering Pathways for Empowerment and Self-Realization of People with Disabilities in Tajikistan

Sanovbar Raupova, leader of Nerubakhsh NGO, initially pursued a career in finance. However, she found her true calling in disability rights advocacy after getting involved with activist groups in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. “As a person with a disability, I was fortunate to grow up in a community where I was not isolated from society and had access to most opportunities,” Sanovbar shares. “However, once I delved into activist work, I realized this is still not a reality of many people living with disabilities. This prompted me to rethink my career trajectory, and ultimately led me to dedicate myself entirely to this field."

SICA funding has provided a solid foundation for Nerubakhsh to flourish. With SICA’s support, the organization was finally able to address many of its challenges, such as increasing staff capacity from three to seven professionals, including a lawyer, a psychologist, and a financial operations assistant. Furthermore, the "Nurafshon" social service center, operating under Nerubakhsh, was able to overcome its shortage of specialized equipment through grant assistance, acquiring essential equipment needed for disability rehabilitation and opening a physio sensory corner. The scope of the organization’s rehabilitation services for children with disabilities increased, allowing the team to expand beneficiary reach by 70% by providing psychological, medical, and law consultations to persons with disabilities. “Honestly, I never thought a young organization like ours would receive support from an international entity," Sanovbar admitted.

Surayo Khairulloeva, one project participant, has committed over three years to helping the team by organizing events and providing psychological support to parents of children with disabilities in a self-help group. Her involvement in training programs aimed at boosting organizational capacity has unlocked a variety of new opportunities. "Caring for a daughter with cerebral palsy presents its unique challenges, and for a long time, my life revolved exclusively around my children's interests and needs," she reflects. "Joining Nerubakhsh was like finding a second family, a community of people committed to supporting those with disabilities, including children and their parents." With the team's unwavering support, Surayo participated in IDG training and pursued higher education. Now, she skillfully balances her time between studying at the university, working at Nerubakhsh, and caring for her family. Sanovbar is presently pursuing her next major objective: creating a center specifically designed for children with disabilities. “In the Dushanbe district alone, there are over 400 individuals with disabilities, including many women and children,” says Sanovbar. “Regrettably, at present, there are no centers offering full-fledged support and rehabilitation services for these children. I am committed to set up a center that offers the holistic support they require, enabling them to participate actively and equally in society.”

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