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Kyrgyzstan: Marking World Humanitarian Day in photos

26 Aug 2011

Photo exhibition for World Humanitarian Day in Bishkek, KyrgyzstanTo celebrate World Humanitarian Day last week, the Crisis Communications Group opened a photo exhibition in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

World Humanitarian Day is an oppotunity for humanitarian aid workers to renew their commitment to helping vulnerable and marginalised people and ensuring they receive the assistance they deserve. 

It is also a chance for others to recognise the great work that humanitarians do all over the world.

The goal of this exhibition is to recognise the people and organisations that contributed to the humanitarian response in Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. The outbreak of violence that took place in southern Kyrgystan last year affected an estimated one million people, in particular in Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces.

Humanitarian response in Kyrgyzstan as thousands displaced

Thousands of people were displaced, many were blockaded in their homes and hundreds of thousands fled across the border into Uzbekistan. Because large numbers of younger adults leave Kyrgyzstan in search of work, a disproportionately high number of those affected by the crisis were older people.

The photo exhibition features pictures that highlight the positive impact organisations have achieved since the crisis. The photos are from a wide range of sources; some are international humanitarian agencies while others are from local organisations or even individuals who were part of the June 2010-June 2011 humanitarian operation.

To be where we are needed

All the photos I've seen conveyed the wide scope of the humanitarian operation: from education to water, from health to business restoration, from food to peace building initiatives, from shelter to sanitation and hygiene.

The message of the exhibition was "To be where we are needed". This was to highlight the role of everyone, regardless of background or gender, who made a difference during the June events. The day was to commemorate every humanitarian aid worker.

To ensure older people are included 

Older people are particularly vulnerable during emergency situations as they have specific needs in humanitarian responses but they also play critical role in rebuilding their communities. The response programme make the most of older people's expertise, potential and contributions; as carers, advisors, mediators, mentors and providers.

Over 5,000 older people and their families were provided with valuable practical, legal and psychosocial support. However, there are still challenges and gaps in protection and social security for older people that need to be addressed during the transition from relief to recovery and development.

Photos of older people affected by violence

As a participating agency, HelpAge contributed some photos from our Osh emergency response programme. They are images of older people who were affected by the violence and their daily lives. The pictures were taken by local photographer Malik Alymkuloff.

The photos are part of a cultural programme and "Age Awareness" campaign. The campaign shows how older people have rebuilt their lives and communities by promoting understanding between different generations. It also raises awareness with the pubic of the challenges older people face during emergencies and highlights the important role they play in the recovery after a crisis. 

Read more on our work with older people in Kyrgyzstan

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Author profile

Nodira Kholmatova
Country: Kyrgyzstan

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