DUSHANBE — The citizen service organization Spirit of America, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, on December 2 announced a financial commitment that will keep the Afghan Somoniyon School open to students from Tajikistan’s Afghan refugee community. Responding to a critical need for refugee children, Spirit of America is investing more than $80,000 to sustain the school’s operations for the next 12 months, the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan said.
The Somoniyon School, located in Dushanbe, serves more than 450 students from kindergarten to eleventh grade. It is the only school in Tajikistan to offer curriculum from Afghanistan with instruction in the Dari language. The school, which risked closure following the Afghan government’s collapse, will remain open with Spirit of America supporting the cost of rent, student transportation, furnishings, minor repairs, and internet.
“We are proudly investing over $80,000 to ensure that more than 450 displaced Afghan children have access to a quality education and can grow up with the same dreams and aspirations as other boys or girls around the world,” commented Spirit of America Chief Executive Officer Jim Hake. “The recent tragic events in Afghanistan have placed tremendous strain on many countries but have also shown how communities can come together to help those most in need. The Tajik people, true to their values, have exhibited tremendous goodwill and hospitality toward Afghans seeking refuge in their country. In solidarity, Spirit of America is funding the Somoniyon School for Afghan refugees for the next 12 months.”
“We extend our deepest gratitude to Spirit of America for giving these boys and girls the chance to continue their education,” Somoniyon School principal Nojia Zahir said. “This valuable assistance is truly life changing for our students.”
U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan John Mark Pommersheim welcomed the contribution. “We thank Spirit of America for its generous support, which gives vulnerable Afghan youth a path to a better future,” the Ambassador said. “The people of the United States and Tajikistan stand firmly together in solidarity with Afghan refugees.”
This donation follows Spirit of America and U.S. Embassy collaboration to support three community centers in Vahdat that provide English-language, technology, and vocational programs to over 2,500 Tajiks and Afghans. Spirit of America funded renovation and high-speed internet for the Karvan Education Center, the Innovation Technology and Communications Center, and the Vahdat youth center – enabling Tajik and Afghan youth in Vahdat to access education resources and opportunities.
The commitment to the Somoniyon School builds on decades of U.S. leadership in humanitarian and development aid. Since 1992, the American people have provided over $1.8 billion in programs and humanitarian aid that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, culture, education, and economic growth. The United States remains the largest single humanitarian donor in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region, providing nearly $474 million in humanitarian aid over the last year.
Spirit of America is a privately funded, U.S.-based nonprofit organization that engages citizens in strengthening relationships with allies, friends, and partners to preserve the promise of a free and better life. Since 2003, Spirit of America has worked alongside U.S. troops and diplomats to deliver the goodwill of the American people and address local needs in more than 90 countries.