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Winter is coming in Kyrgyzstan

06 Oct 2010

The bread and jam they will be eating all winter.Tempers flared today when Temirbaera and her older people's group met with the village council to ask for fuel - heating their houses is a big worry as they face a Kyrgyz winter.

"We have to use dung for fuel, one sack is needed each day to keep one room of our home warm," says Temirbaera.

The family; Temirbaera, 71 and her two grandchildren Amina age six and Buro age eight, will eat, sleep and live in this one room from November to February. 

Their parents have migrated to work and Temirbaera is bringing them up on her pension so they can go to school. However, her pension of 2,600 somm (about US$5) a month is not enough.

The old and young survive as best they can

"Our diet will consist of bread, jam, potatoes and salt," she says. "I have to buy food, fuel, books and shoes so the children can go to school. You need patience bringing up children. They cut down the washing line to make a swing!"

At the end of the meeting the village council promised the group a tonne of coal to share between them. But it will not go far, if it arrives at all. 

They also agreed to put a group member on the committee which distributes emergency supplies; a gesture that was well received.

Here in Balachey, 2,700 out of a population of 12,700 have officially migrated because of unemployment. This leaves the old and young to survive as best they can.

Read more about HelpAge's work in Kyrgyzstan and how we help older people face the harsh winters

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Jane Scobie
Country: UK
Job title: Head of Network Development

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.