Dushanbe, Tajikistan, June 20, 2022 – The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe is proud to commemorate World Refugee Day, celebrated every year on June 20, with the government and people of Tajikistan. To celebrate the vibrance that refugees bring to communities in Tajikistan and the United States, the U.S. Embassy hosted a celebration at American Space Dushanbe with Afghan and Tajik music, food, and art.
Opening the event, Charge d’ Affairs Bridgette Walker stated “we commend Tajikistan for offering a temporary home for Afghan refugees. It reflects Tajikistan’s leadership, renowned hospitality, and its willingness to help its neighbors. We thank the Tajik government for providing safety and support to the Afghan community in their time of need.”
In Tajikistan, the U.S. government and independent American donor organizations like Spirit of America have made support to the Afghan community and its Tajik neighbors a key focus of U.S. programs. U.S. assistance includes:
- Programs for Afghan and Tajik Youth in Vahdat: Since October 2021, the U.S. Embassy has delivered American Space Dushanbe’s youth programs at community centers in Vahdat, where thousands of Tajik and Afghan students learn English, technology, and public speaking skills. The program, funded by the U.S. State Department and implemented by American Councils, also provides transportation for Vahdat youth to attend regular programs in-person at American Space Dushanbe. On May 11, 2022, the Spirit of America organization announced an additional $100,000 to ensure the program is funded through the end of 2023.
- Renovation and Internet Supply to Vahdat Community Centers: To improve conditions for education programs at community centers in Vahdat, the Spirit of America organization contributed over $35,000 to install including furniture, sewing machines, audio/visual equipment, and high-speed internet. In 2020, the U.S. Embassy provided $15,255 in funding to renovate student bathrooms at the Vahdat Youth Palace.
- English Access Microscholarship programs for Tajik and Afghan youth: The U.S. Embassy funds English-language classes for underserved youth in Vahdat. Since 2013, the English language micro-scholarship program has improved the English of over 120 Tajik and Afghan students to prepare them for future careers.
- Funding for the Somoniyon School in Dushanbe: When Tajikistan’s only school for Afghan refugees lost its funding from the Afghan government in August 2021, Spirit of America provided $83,000 in emergency assistance to cover rent for the 2021-2022 school year, transportation, internet, furniture, and renovation to save the school from closing. In April 2021, Spirit of America announced it would fund the school’s rent through the 2022-2023 school year.
- Professional Development for Tajik and Afghan English Teachers: To strengthen English language instruction, the U.S. Embassy has provided pedagogical training to over 30 teachers in Vahdat through the English Without Borders network (EWB) and the English Teaching Mentor (ETM) program. Over the next year, the Embassy will also include Afghan teachers in the program.
This assistance reflects the commitment of the United States as a nation of immigrants that has welcomed more than 3.5 million refugees for permanent resettlement since 1975. This year, the United States resettled nearly 74,000 Afghan refugees across the United States with assistance from our network of refugee agency partners. The United States will continue welcoming additional qualifying Afghans over the coming weeks and months. Additionally, President Biden had committed to admit up to 100,000 displaced people fleeing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
The U.S. Embassy commends Tajikistan for sharing a commitment to support refugee communities. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Tajikistan as we work to ensure this is a great home for all people living in this beautiful country.