Fazliddin Sharopov lives in New Mastochoh, in the Tajik part of the Ferghana Valley. Like many young people in Tajikistan, he has dreams, ideas and a lot of unrealized energy. He believes that he has a great potential that can be used in different fields, but currently this is unfulfilled. «I have lots of energy, this is my problem,» he said.
Fazliddin recently tried his hand at sport, but the sports facilities, particularly for volleyball, are very limited in his district. «We do not have enough money to buy balls. In the area several people are involved in the sport, but we lack players … we tried to teach boys and girls, but the only site in our jamoat is constantly flooded, so classes are not held regularly. It would not be impossible to hold competitions.»
Our jamoat has two soccer fields and basketball court without hoops. Even at the basketball court there are constantly puddles and it is not always possible to find balls. «We do not have sports schools or clubs. There is no chance to develop sport.»
Fazliddin said that the mosque is the only warm place where he can go in the fall and winter. There he can gather with friends to discuss the situation in the country and the world. «The Mullah has a very big impact on young people and their perception of life.»
According Fazliddin recently in his area there is a tendency for young men who have studied in religious schools in other countries to come to the mosque and begin to argue with the mullahs. «The disputes can be very heated. Young Islamic people are accused of doing nothing. Such behavior is similar to the young people who have a lot of energy.» Thus, the most active and energetic young people go to the «new mullahs» or turn to a more secular lifestyle.
In the fall of 2010, Fazliddin became a member of the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia (EFCA) program to reduce the radicalization of young people in Tajikistan. He participated in training sessions on leadership, the organization of youth banks and strategies to prevent ethnic, political and Islamic radicalization.
«I really learned a lot. Previously, I knew that with enough commitment I could organize something, but I did not think about it, I just worked.» Over the past two months Fazliddin has hosted several events in his jamoat. The biggest of these competitions was in football and volleyball, with the motto of «Youth – Our Today.»
«My friends and I just told our friends about our idea and so the number of participants grew. Once we had more than 80 people, we began to prepare a football pitch and a volleyball court. We removed the water. We found sponsors and formed teams. More than three hundred people participated in the competition. Even those who said that football was a sin came and played.»
Now Fazliddin and his friends are gathering ideas for projects for when the Youth Bank becomes operational in their area. «We want to create a youth center, where people can meet. We have almost agreed with the local government to give us a building. We will develop the site, organize competitions and teach our peers to develop themselves. I think that when the young people become busy with something, the radical mood will disappear.