Jalalabad (Agenzia Fides) - "The projects carried out by the Caritas of Kyrgyzstan are many and can be summarized in two large areas: charity and education. Every year, for example, we create annual summer rehabilitation camps for disabled children and their parents, with European doctors and volunteers who help participants gain new knowledge on how to raise a child with special needs. We have poultry farms and laboratories for former alcoholics and drug addicts, thanks to which children can acquire work skills. Since 2015, we have been carrying out an astronomy project in southern Kyrgyzstan, with about 30 teachers and more than 300 young astronomers: the 100 most deserving students, each year, can participate in a camp in Lake Issyk Kul, where they can observe the sky and study with the help of astronomers and Polish volunteers". This is what Sher Abdugapirov, deputy director of Caritas at the Jalalabad headquarters reported to Agenzia Fides, illustrating the activities of the pastoral and charitable organization of the Bishops in Kyrgyzstan.
The attention to education, explains Abdugapirov, focuses particularly on young people from poor families and rural villages in the regions of Chui and Jalal-Abad, respectively in the north and south of the country: "The main objective of this project is that of giving young people, who live in a context of poverty, the chance to enroll at university, focusing on the complete education of these young people. We make sure that they have professors, books and all the necessary material. In the last two years, we have helped 150 young people enroll in the university ".
These projects can count on the financial support of some partners such as the Red Cross, Caritas Germany, Caritas Japan, Secours Catholique, and on the practical support of local volunteers: "These are mainly young people from our parishes, even if the number of people is not always sufficient. During our summer camps volunteers from Europe join us. We are ready to welcome anyone who wants to join us in this work of solidarity", says Abdugapirov, underlining how charity also represents an opportunity for interreligious dialogue. "Catholics in Kyrgyzstan are an absolute minority, about 1000 people. Therefore, it would be practically impossible to do something without cooperating with representatives of other religions. We have excellent relations with all other believers, Muslims, Orthodox, Protestants. Representatives of all these religions actively participate in all our projects. We also receive aid from the State Committee for Religious Affairs", he concludes. Operational since 2011 in the form of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) after a long process for the official affiliation, at the beginning of 2019 the Caritas of Kyrgyzstan officially joined the network of Caritas Internationalis. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 25/6/2019)