Work and Travel in Tajikistan
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN TAJIKISTAN FOR TRAVELLERS
Tajikistan makes up one of the five ‘Stans’ and is one of the few places in the world travellers truly consider to be ‘off the beaten path’. Volunteering opportunities in Tajikistan are few and far between, with the majority of travellers never even considering it.
So if you want to work and travel in Tajikistan you’re going to experience a big adventure. Our travel guide to Tajikistan (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/tajikistan) is going to introduce you to a world with little information available online.
Now has never been a better time to enter this mysterious part of the world.
1. Work with Disabled Children in Tajikistan
The capital of Dushanbe is the main urban area of the country. Unfortunately, a lack of resources and tolerance means that disabled children are rarely given the help they need. As you travel in Tajikistan you should consider joining a disabled children’s centre.
Here volunteers and paid professionals work to give disabled children the care and attention they need. Many disabled children have been abandoned, so these centres are their only resource.
You don’t need to have any prior experience, but you must be a tolerant and understanding person to take on this type of work in Tajikistan.
2. Teach English in Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a nation that has been closed off for so long, especially during its time under the yoke of the Soviet Union. But it is fast opening up to the rest of the world.
One way in which it is trying to attract valuable business is by placing an emphasis on English. Young people are determined to learn English, but a lack of native speakers in the country means that this isn’t always easy.
Teaching English can take place in many environments, including schools, private homes, and universities. As long as you’re a native English speaker you’re already qualified. Bear in mind that if you want to take on paid work you will usually require a TEFL qualification.
3. Protect the Mountains in Tajikistan
There’s a burgeoning ecotourism industry in the western parts of the country. If you want to do something different here, you can join ecotourism associations.
They’re dedicated to both protecting the environment and raising awareness of relevant issues. You could be doing anything from helping to mark mountain trails to protecting the flora, fauna, and wildlife found there.
The government is working to convince more people to travel in Tajikistan, so your work will have a long-term effect on the country.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR TAJIKISTAN
Tajikistan used to be part of the USSR, so Russian citizens (and citizens of other former Soviet states) are able to work and travel in Tajikistan for an unlimited period of time, with no other restrictions.
It used to be difficult for anyone else to get a visa to enter the country, but in 2016 a new e-visa system was launched. It now takes mere minutes to fill out a visa application, pay $45, and then get your visa within a few days. An e-visa can be used any border and is valid for 45 days out of every 90 days.
Citizens of North America, the European Union (EU), the UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China, and India are able to use the e-visa system.
If you want a longer visa then you will have to visit an embassy. The e-visa can’t be extended when you’re already in the country
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN TAJIKISTAN
The spring season lasts from March to May and is extremely mild. It’s an excellent time to take up volunteering opportunities in Tajikistan.
We recommend going into the countryside at this time of year. Working on community development projects in rural villages is a good option. Many of these people are farmers or are craftspeople, and charities are there to provide aid and new technology to help these people become more self-sufficient.
You may also decide to stay in the capital and work with disabled children, women, or in community development.
It’s also possible to get into English teaching at this time of year. You’ll find most opportunities with private companies or in private homes.
The summer season can be blistering hot in many areas of Tajikistan, especially in the lowlands. To make your stay more bearable, we recommend going into the mountainous regions in the west.
This is an excellent time of year to work in Tajikistan with the ecotourism industry. Marking out mountain trails and working with guides who’re helping visitors is a great way to make real connections to the country.
You may also decide to join a conservation programme, which focuses on protecting the flora and fauna of the country’s vast interior.
The autumn season is much the same as spring. Refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on some of the things you can do during autumn.
The winter season is the worst time of year to travel in Tajikistan. Work and travel in Tajikistan is near impossible due to the freezing temperatures.
Other than English teaching, and a few other indoor projects, you don’t have any other options. The majority of projects in the outdoor areas are no longer running. And in the mountains it’s considered too dangerous, as a result of the extreme temperatures.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN TAJIKISTAN
The overwhelming feeling towards those who work in Tajikistan is curiosity and confusion. This is a country that has little history of international volunteering. It’s a relatively new concept that few locals understand, so expect a lot of the same questions about what you’re doing and why you’re there.
You should also be aware that few people speak English in Tajikistan, particularly the older generation. So unless you know some of the local language, or Russian, you’ll find it difficult to communicate here.
For first time travellers, this will be an extremely challenging country to volunteer in.
If you’re ready to take on the challenge, this is a fantastic time to take up the volunteering opportunities in Tajikistan.