BRIDGES TO TAJIKISTAN

connection, education, opportunity

In Khujand, a partnership was developed with Intellectual and Educational Center “Dono”, a private school for youth who want to become fluent in English and also increase their various educational skills.

Bridges has built a relationship with DONO School in Khujand and with its director, Firuza Osimi.  DONO is a private school for youth who want to become fluent in English and also increase their various educational skills.  Bridges was honored to connect Chris Schueler, the famous documentarian, with the school for film training when he visited Tajikistan last summer. We are pleased to report that Firouza visited Albuquerque in early 2015, and we arranged several meetings for her. She met with Stephanie Garcia, teacher for gifted students at Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary School, and her students.


Christopher Productions has created over 100 television programs in the past 20 years that have garnered 21 Emmy® Awards and have been broadcast throughout the country and around the world. Focusing on educational and social issues, Christopher Productions has over two decades of experience in youth programming, cultural and social documentaries and family series television all geared to create "Television to Touch the Heart."  Its clients have ranged from the United Nations to the PBS network to the CBS Network Foundation.  Chris Schueler, Christopher Productions' president, is the creator of the nationally-syndicated teen news project "News 101," a program that trains teenagers to produce television news for local network affiliates. The company also creates and produces the internationally-syndicated animal adventure television series "Wild's Life."  Christopher Productions' documentary projects have explored important issues ranging from air quality to domestic violence, which have aired on PBS, The Learning Channel, The Classroom Channel, and over 100 domestic markets as well as 35 countries. In addition to the United States, filming locations have included Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Documentaries focusing on the environment, health and social issues, and Native American challenges have raised public awareness and also impacted public policy.

The students spent two days training in basic video production and began work on several social issue videos including the importance of education, the dangers of early marriage, HIV/AIDS concerns, and others.In addition to creating the original “bridges” with Zumrad and Dono Center, 

Bridges to Tajikistan provided video cameras for student use at each center.

​Mr. Schueler returned to Tajikistan in 2015 to continue his work with students.

Working and coordinating through representatives of the German NGO Caritas, in summer 2014, Christopher Productions helped organizations in the capital city of Dushanbe as well as the city of Khujand train youth to create short videos that would highlight their lives and important social issues in their community.  In Dushanbe, Mr. Schueler worked through a nonprofit, Zumrad, to train youth who had aged out of the orphanage system (Internat Schools) in Tajikistan. These students learned how to fully produce - write, shoot and edit- short video segments that would highlight their current lives. These videos will then be used on line to help Zumrad and Caritas raise funds for and awareness of these young people’s needs and lives.

DONO SCHOOL AND FILMMAKING

I had a great time when Chris arrived to our center DONO. It was a very good experience for me. He taught us how to make our own documentary film and I have to say that it was great. The topics were very interesting and the method of teaching was cool. I have got amazing impressions that I never forget. I think that seminar will be beneficial for me in the future. I hope that the next year he visits us again.” (Zarrina)

Schueler, Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and President of Christopher Productions visited Tajikistan in the summer of 2014 to work with youth, after meeting with the 2013 Open World exchange delegation from Tajikistan hosted by Bridges to Tajikistan co-founders, Rikki Quintana and Karen Schafer.  

FILMMAKING AS A TOOL FOR CHANGE

Pictured here, L to R: Sarah, Farouza, Rikki, and Denise.

 The leadership of the University of New Mexico Center for English Language and America Culture (CELAC) explained their program for intensive English language instruction.  We also met with Pablo Torres of the Global Education Office.  We are optimistic that these meetings will result in Tajik students from DONO one day studying at UNM. Our optimism was rewarded when we welcomed our first student in August 2015. Last year Project PeacePal (PPP), now Global One to One, our fiscal administrator, established a pen pal relationship between PPP and DONO.  The first letters from DONO arrived in Albuquerque in November 2014, and the letters continued through the 2014-2015 school year. 


It was truly wonderful to put together a lunch for Firuza with Sarah Wilkinson, founder and director of PPP, and Denise Bucci, program manager.  The opportunity to meet face-to-face and talk about ways to continue and improve the program was invaluable. Firouza’s visit was concluded with a memorable dinner at a local Mexican restaurant hosted by Chris Schueler. Bridges assisted in obtaining a grant from the U.S. Embassy to assist with the expenses for Chris’ return to Tajikistan last October.  We are extremely grateful that Chris donates his time for his work in Tajikistan and believe that the work he is doing there is impactful and long-lasting.  See more about Chris Schueler and his international projects