While backpacking in the truly sensational Gorno Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, I was exploring the Pamirs. Breathtakingly gorgeous in winter and full of snow yet quiet; contrasts with busy for tourists in summer on the Pamir Highway, but the overall message is that this place is a traveller’s paradise. So would you like to volunteer here? You can volunteer for an hour, a day, a week, a month! Give whatever time you have. Local company Umedvor need your help! It’s easy to get in touch with these guys, a local volunteer program which has been in operation since 2012.
Umedvor is run by local guy Zohir, who I met up with and toured Khorog with. Alas, I was only here on a four day journey in Gorno Badakhshan but if I go back, I will be going back to volunteer – make sure you get a multi entry month long visa for Tajikistan.
What is Umedvor?
Umedvor is a community based local volunteer organisation based in Khorog in the Pamirs, Gorno Badakhshan, Tajikistan. The organisation is funded by local people and a few foreign ex-Pats such as a Swiss guy who put some money into helping Umedvor. There is a huge concentration on helping the elderly here, a really great cause to support the older people in the region. Remember, the older people here have been through it all – Soviet times, Stalin’s reign, Gorbachev, the Nuclear sh*t – Kazak and Chernobyl after-effects, Berlin Wall fall, Taliban invasions, Tajikistan independence, even the rumoured Gorno Badakhshan independence.
As well as helping the elderly there are lots of other projects going on. Helping cyclists and cars that breakdown in the mountains (very common – as I found out first hand!) is one.
Another excellent new project is the mobile library. Basically a small trailer that houses about 600 books and has a computer with WiFi in it. Internet is very hit and miss in this region, so the mobile library gives even cyclists and overland hardcore hikers the chance to get online and e-mail their loved ones if they make it to a mobile library location! All money that travellers and tourists give is of course reinvested in the project. Books are also on an exchange basis and in languages such as Chinese, English, Russian and German.
Tours of Khorog
You don’t have to volunteer to help out by the way – you can just book a tourist tour of Khorog through Zohir and the owners of Pamir Lodge and the proceeds will go towards the Umedvor project. You can read my article on a hefty yet textbook top 22 sights in this city.
Contact Umedvor and Volunteer in the Pamirs:
It’s easy to get in touch. Umedvor are now on Facebook and a website is in development, best just to e-mail Zohir and tell them you want to volunteer, you can also let them know you found out through my site. Here are the details for you:
Facebook Page of Umedvor
The website is coming soon, you can also contact Umedvor through me ([email protected]), let me know and I can put you in touch with Zohir!