19 June 2017 / Day 24
Pray for Uzbeks in Tajikistan
Seven year old Bilol smiles shyly as he goes door to door in his village with his friends collecting candy and other treats on the Feast holiday at the end of Ramadan. Though he started first grade last week, his state-required school uniform isn’t quite his size and is already stained. He has a scrape on his face from scuffling with another boy. What you wouldn’t know about Bilol, at first glance, is that he can hardly remember ever seeing his parents together. His dad left to find work in Russia five years ago, and has not contacted his family since. Relatives occasionally hear from someone who has seen him, so they know he’s still there working.
Like most Uzbeks, when Bilol’s parents got married they lived with his father’s parents, his brothers and their wives and children. But when his dad didn’t return from Russia, his mum eventually took Bilol and his two siblings back to live with her parents. That became a hardship for them so, two years ago, Bilol’s mum also left to find work in Russia. Eventually, she did find work, and she periodically sends money back home to her parents. Bilol spends time at both of his grandparents’ homes, which are only a few hundred meters apart in their village. But much of the time he’s growing up without the caring attention and stable environment that a child needs.
Bilol is only one of a generation of Uzbek children who are growing up with a “parental attention deficit.” Tajikistan is the poorest country in the former Soviet Central Asian region, and many are struggling to support their families, particularly in the villages. As a result, at least half of the men work abroad for most of the year. Uzbeks (roughly 25% of the population) are more likely than the majority Tajiks to work abroad, as being a minority they are much less likely to secure a dependable state job.
How to Pray
- Pray that children like Bilol will hear the amazing news about God the Father’s love for them!
- Pray for parents who’ve gone abroad to find work encounter followers of Christ in those places who will help them.
- Pray for wise leadership in Tajikistan to form a more stable economy so that families can stay together.