Safarbek, 98, Kyrgyzstan

HelpAge works across Eastern Europe and Central Asia promoting and securing

Safarbek, 98, told us that older people in Kyrgyzstan receive little or no support for the government.

(c) Kate Holt/HelpAge International

Safarbek, 98, told us that older people in Kyrgyzstan receive little or no support for the government.

pensions for older people, like Safarbek, 98, from Kyrgyzstan.

We collect evidence as well as advising and lobbying governments to ensure older people's right to pensions and income security.

The problems in this region are particularly bad because the informal sector includes millions of migrants who have no access to benefits, job security or contracts.

Safarbek comes from Tajikistan and is one of those fortunate enough to transfer his pension to his new home in Kyrgyzstan.

The post office brings my pension every month

 

He said: "I get 900 Som per month for my pension. I started to get a pension in Tajikistan - when we came here to Kyrgyzstan I was able to transfer it so that I could collect it here.

"Then it was 700 Som but it has now increased to 900. I always give my pension to my son's wife. The post office brings the pension every month which is good because it means that I don't have to collect it which can be hard in the winter for old people like me.

"Normally we eat two or three times a day - tea and bread for two meals and noodle soup in the evenings in the winter. It's enough for us. Meat is expensive so we rarely eat it, and vegetables in the winter are also expensive.

"Because I normally lie in bed all day because I am getting very old my son has to come and remind me that I have to eat.

My greatest pleasure is that there is peace

"I find it very hard to get up now and have spent two years like this now. I have cataracts on my eyes so find it hard to see and therefore it is hard for me to move around the whole time.

"I have a problem with my legs too, and also have a kidney infection that won't go away. I sometimes take medicine for my stomach when it doesn't feel good and my son buys this for me.

"My pension is very low so isn't enough to buy all the medicines that I need and I don't like taking what little money my son has to do this for me.

"But I think also that my pension is a big help to my son and his family because it is a regular source of income that they don't otherwise have in the winter because the casual labour my son does only really happens in the warmer summer months.

"My greatest pleasure is that there is peace here, and that all my children are safe and healthy and that I have grandchildren. I am happy that I have reached this far and that if I die soon I will die happy."

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"My pension is a big help to my son and his family because it is a regular source of income that they don't otherwise have in the winter."

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