I don't want to hear about her...I want to see her...

The story of Orif

UNICEF Uzbekistan
Ориф с социальным работником
UNICEF Uzbekistan/2022
23 March 2022

(Name changed to protect identity)

It was one of the warmest days of spring. There are sounds of birds and the laughs of people all around the streets of Termez, a town in the south region of Uzbekistan. They were making sumalak-traditional Uzbek delicacy which is usually prepared in spring.

On one of those streets, there was an old house, from where the sounds of livestock could be heard. It was a house of a six-year-old boy - Orif, who was running after hens in his large yard.

Orif's eyes are full of sadness. He has not seen his mother in person since his two years of age. She had to migrate to Russia to earn a living. His mother has been video calling him for four years to keep the boy remembering her face and voice.

“I already forgot the smell of my mom ... I miss her so much”, Orif's eyes are filled with tears. It is the first time he had cried since his mother left. The boy had kept all his pain, longing, and loneliness in himself all these years.

“I have a sheep and hens; I feed them and play with them. They distract me from thinking about my mother, but I can’t do this anymore ... Every day my longing increases and I can no longer hide it in myself”.

The only thing Orif needs for happiness is a warm hug from his mother...

Orif lives with his sister under the care of their grandmother. His aunt also lives there with her children.

“It's tight in this house. My daughter must work to finish building her own place. She does not have a husband, so she must do everything herself. She promised to return this year and never leave her children again”, Orif’s grandmother says.

With the support of the project funded by the European Union and UNICEF, the grandmother has received help to enhance her competencies in raising children of this age. The family continues to receive regular support and financial assistance from the government.

Social workers monitor the health status of Orif and his sister, as well as their school performance. They have enrolled children in extra curriculum classes after school, thereby improving their grades.

Children goes through regular medical examinations and get medicines as needed. Doctors have helped his sister get rid of her allergies, and Orif was cured of worms. Both of them participate in children's events.

Orif is looking forward to seeing his mother in person. She is soon to come.

This story is written within the framework of the interregional project "Protection of children affected by migration in South-East, South and Central Asia", funded by the European Union and UNICEF.