Before coming to Oxfam I didn’t know much about this organization. All I knew was that its main goal was to help reduce poverty and fight injustice. But once I arrived and went out onto the field and had the opportunity to truly experience what Oxfam does, I felt more knowledgeable not only about Oxfam, but about the many different troubles that are faced by the communities in Tajikistan. The head office of Oxfam in Tajikistan is located in Kulyob, which was 5 minutes away from where I stayed during my internship. I was staying with one of the head coordinators of Oxfam Tajikistan, Medina, who was my supervisor and guide during my internship.
Sitting in the car each day, while going out onto the field, and seeing the fences that Oxfam built around the schools they created or fixed, or the Public Health Systems they were installing, or even the outhouses that they made more practical and reliable for the villages, made me really realize how much Oxfam was making a difference in these peoples lives. Not only were the people appreciative of Oxfam’s work but so were the government officials and even the police department because through this work Oxfam made the community trust the police department again and actually feel safe when they were around.
As I sat in on many interviews, I heard over and over again how thankful they were to Oxfam for their help, what they have done for the community’s betterment and that they would love to continue working with Oxfam in the future. The trainings that were held, if it was either about Fire Safety, Human Rights or any sort of natural disasters such as earthquakes or flooding, were held so effectively that the community actively participated and learned many new things that they would go on and tell their family and friends thus spreading the awareness throughout the community. It wasn’t a lecture or something that you would never remember because the trainers, who were very experienced, made learning fun and tried to involve everyone if it was either with demonstrations or just laughing together because in the end everyone took away at least one new thing from that experience.
I loved that even though I didn’t speak Tajiki or Russian or had any idea what the community members were trying to say was that whenever they heard Oxfam they immediately smiled and nodded. This showed me that it doesn’t matter what language you speak or that you come from the other side of the world, what does matter is that we are all people and laugh about the same things and just want to be safe and have a family that cares for you and Oxfam tries to make that happen by making these communities safe, healthy and able to enjoy that joke that makes everyone smile because in the end we are all people who want the same things. Thanks to this experience, Oxfam made me open my eyes to this unique and distinctive culture which may have their troubles but in the end who doesn’t? Now I know that Oxfam strives to make each community member live their life to the fullest and be happy because that is what counts.
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