During the peak of COVID19 outbreak in Tajikistan (May- July) the Khorog community volunteers managed one of the largest COVID-19 response campaigns in the region. They facilitated the purchase, packaging and delivery of 3,600 kg of food, 67 pieces of medical equipment, 84 high-quality hospital beds, essential medicines and other vital commodities worth over USD 22,000. The food, equipment and essential medicines were distributed to the remote areas of Bartang Valley, Roshtqala and Ishkashim districts and Khorog city. The two-month fundraising project, which started in May 2020, was initiated by the Badakhshan community living abroad and fully implemented by young people from Khorog community.
Oraz Yokutkhonov, a 22-year-old medical student who played a leadership role among the volunteers from Khorog, remarked, “Twelve years ago, I was severely injured and lost both my legs below the knees in a car accident, a group of our community volunteers helped me to get back to a normal life. I was deeply inspired by their dedication and passion and I decided to become one myself.”
Oraz and his dedicated team not only found all the essential supplies but also managed to purchase them at a considerable discount. His wide-ranging connections with the local medical equipment providers helped him to find and purchase the necessary medicines and appliances in large quantities even during months of severe shortages in May-July 2020.
Although the pandemic has thankfully subsided in Khorog, the volunteers stand ready in case of any new flare-ups. This dedication has received accolades from the local population and inspired the formation of volunteer groups in neighbouring villages and towns.