Hello dear volunteers!
We are local English teachers from a Programme in Khorog and we need your help. This a program initiated in 2015 to teach English language for unemployed and employee adults from Pamiri society. They live in Khorog and in remote villages in the Pamir mountains. These people are looking for a better future for themselves and their families and in order to reach this they want to learn and improve their English. This way they have more chance for a better life. As you can imagine, most of these Pamiri do not have a lot of money. In order to keep the program running we need help from outside and that is why we need your help. Through Workaway we hope to reach you. We started in September 2019 with our first volunteers so we are quite new to this. We are open to all your suggestions and ideas.
Since 2018, we also started organizing summer and winter camps for kids, which are a great success. We notice that when our students get in contact with foreigners they get even more motivated and have a completely new experience in their normal life. Through these classes and camps they can share their culture with you and you can share yours with them. Our students (and all of Khorog citizens) are very curious and enthusiastic. They would love to meet foreigners and talk with them. You will experience this when you come to our city.
Khorog is the third biggest city in Tajikistan and the only city in Pamir. We have 30.000 citizens of which most are Ismailism Muslims. We are located in the GBAO province, the eastern province of Tajikistan, on the Pamir Highway. Located at the height of 2200 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest cities in the post-Soviet territory and the highest city in Tajikistan.
As we mentioned above, most of our citizens are Ismaily Muslims. This results in a very modern society. Ismaily are Shia Muslims and based on the idea that education, together with religion, is the most important. Men and women are equal. Women go to the University, have important jobs, are able to divorce and do not wear a headscarf. Ismaily are modern dressed and we welcome all, no mather which religion or skin color you have. If you are interested in our religion and want to learn more about it, this is the best place for it. Besides this, Khorog has all the facilities you need (hospital, supermarkets, internet, restaurants, cellphone connection, etc.).
Some background information about the Programme:
Even though our province occupies 45% of the land, only 3% of our citizens live here. The unemployment rate is very high. For this reason, our community reached out to the Council for United States back in 2015 to start a collaboration. We embarked on a mission to improve the English and work skills of our (young) adults in order to improve the unemployment rates and give the community better job prospects. Especially the communities in Khorog and the remote villages in the Pamir Mountains are affected because of the large-scale unemployment and reverse migration due to Russian crisis.
The initiative is well received by the community in Khorog. We measured that 87% of the participating members have an increase of at least one level of language proficiency over a period of 6 months. The program is becoming a source of hope and confidence for unemployed members of the community who otherwise did not have access to these resources. We even have a running ‘wait list’ of approximately 2020 individuals who have requested to join the next batch of the program. That is why we need your help :-)
While being in Khorog and staying with a local family you will experience local Pamiri life. Khorog is located in the Pamir region and we have a unique way of life compared to other regions in Tajikistan. You can learn about this and experience it personally. You will notice that it is very safe in this province and this region is in fact the most secured region in Tajikistan. We have hot springs in this region, which you can visit to improve your health. In addition, we are surrounded by beautiful mountains, a fresh wind and local fruits and vegetables. We have clean water from our two main mountain rivers. You can visit high mountains, organize trekking trips and drive on the Pamir Highway (second highest highway in the world). Dushanbe is 600 kilometers away so on your free days you can arrange a trip and visit the capital as well.
Some background information about the Ismaily community:
Ismaily -or Ismailism- is a branch of Shia Islam, one of the two main branches of Islam. There are several paths within Ismailism. In Khorog and surroundings, most people are Nizaris, who recognize Aga Khan IV as the current Imam. In comparison to the other branch of Islam, we follow a living Imam. He strikes for educational progress, equality between all humans and elimination of global poverty. His aim is to improve the quality of life for all people because he believes in growth. It is one of the reasons why we started this program.
Some background information about the Pamiri culture:
The Pamiris are an ethnic group living in the GBAO region in Tajikistan, the Xinjiang region in China and the Badakshan region in Afghanistan. We have our own language and special traditional dresses, which the women wear. In addition, every region has their own traditional hats, by which we can recognize each other. Most Pamiris follow the Nizari Ismaily Islam. We are good in languages. Most people in Khorog speak at least four languages: Pamiri, Tajik, Russian and English.
Since we are an English learning center, we need English teachers. You do not have to be a qualified (English) teacher but we are looking for people who speak English well enough to be able to teach in front of a class. We have a workbook that you can follow and we encourage you to be creative. Feel free to design your own classes and have fun with the students. We notice they love interactive classes and games. It will be good for them to speak a lot with you and exchange cultures. People who have ideas about teaching and want to help brainstorm and improve our education, you are most welcome. Do you want to learn more about our country, experience our culture and religion and would like to help us? Please, sent us a message. We are happy to welcome you.
Chinese (Mandarin): Fluent
You will stay at a local family’s home, but you can also stay at a guesthouse or hostel if you prefer this. The family will share their meals with you. If you wish, you can always cook food for yourself or go to a restaurant if you prefer this. You will experience our Pamiri way of living in a traditional Pamiri house. The architecture of these houses are unique in the world. In most cases, you will have a private room but be aware that some families might not have the space for this. Wi-Fi is not available in the houses, since all families use the internet on their phones. You can easily buy a simcard in town. In addition, the tourist office in the centre (PECTA) and some restaurants and hotels have (free) Wi-Fi as well. We ask you to be flexible and indulge in our traditional way of living.
On your days off you can visit the botanical garden, the University of Central Asia, the Ismaily center, go for a swim and stroll in our central park, hike in the mountains, drive on the Pamir Highway, bath in the hot springs and explore the Vakhan Valley. We are located close to the Afghan border and on Saturdays you can visit the special Afghan bazar in Khorog. Every day we have a ‘’normal’’ bazar in the center where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, clothes, electronics and everything else you might need here.
To get to Khorog you can enter via the Pamir Highway, either from Murghab or from Dushanbe. From both sides you can get here by jeep (4x4), which you can arrange in those places mentioned. For the even more adventurous travelers, you can also hitchhike. Be aware that the driver might ask a little bit of money in return for the ride. If you need more information about transport, please feel free to contact us about this.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 2-4 hours a day, 4 days a week