USAID CENTRAL ASIA EXPOSURE PAGE FEATURES “REMITTANCES OF UZBEK MIGRANTS ABROAD HELP FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND”
The USAID Safe Migration in Central Asia (SMICA) activity’s critical support to vulnerable migrants in Kazakhstan during the COVID-19 pandemic was featured on USAID Central Asia’s Exposure page, posted on June 16, 2021.
“Remittances of Uzbek Migrants Abroad Help Families Left Behind” tells the story of how SMICA is partnering with community-based groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across Kazakhstan to provide badly-needed support services, including basic humanitarian aid, psychological consultations and legal advice to migrants whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic.
The Exposure piece focuses on the journey of Azamjon, a citizen of Uzbekistan who works abroad, in Kazakhstan, to support his extended family back home through remittances he sends every month. Azamjon said migrants working in Kazakhstan were extremely vulnerable as COVID-19 swept across Central Asia and the rest of the world. “We [migrants] helped one another, shared bread, tried to help with accommodations, as not everyone could rent an apartment during the pandemic. We united, but we lacked information on how to get our visa registrations extended and we didn’t want to jeopardize our situation by breaking immigration rules.”
SMICA partnered with organizations like Darys, a local NGO, to provide legal aid and other support to migrants in Kazakhstan whose situations became even more complicated due to changing national and international travel restrictions and other difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Though the COVID-19 virus has forced him to remain away from Uzbekistan for two years, “I want my family to afford everything they want. I want my children to get the education they need,” Azamjon said. “That’s why, regardless of how I feel being apart from my family, I know why I am doing it. I do it for my family.”