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Jun 18, 2019

Equipping those who need it

Every year, International Children's Day is marked on 1st June, and at Salem we try and use that opportunity to do something special. As it fell this year, we were in the midst of our registration for our Summer semester of English courses that day. And although we were again able to invite a significant number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds to study with us at greatly reduced rate, or even for free, as part of our social priorities, we wanted to do something more than just that.

Previously, through the kind generosity of Medline Industries Inc and the help of Crossroads Foundation, Salem Social Village received a large shipment of high quality wheelchairs for children and adults. Whilst the adult wheelchairs were in huge demand and quickly distributed, we don't have so many connections with children in need of such equipment.

But for a key day like this, one of our team got on the case and was able to track down a number of families who were incredibly grateful to receive a wheelchair for their child. Not only that, but we were able to provide them with training in getting the most from the wheelchair, correct sitting positions for the child in it, and other helpful resources.

As well as being able to give them much needed assistance in their challenge of bringing up a child with significant disabilites, we now have new contacts that we can keep in touch with and help along the way. It takes more than just a wheelchair to transform a family's life, but when you need a wheelchair, receiving one is a very significant start.

 

PS We apologise for the lack of any photos with this report. We have some great ones we wanted to share, however at present a number of internet processes are blocked in Kazakhstan, and we are unable to upload photos to GlobalGiving, even when using a VPN. We're doing all we can to rectify this situation, but thank you for your patience.

Mar 20, 2019

Projects and Partnerships

Vika from the Salem team briefs attendees
Vika from the Salem team briefs attendees

Earlier this year, Salem Social Village signed a partnership agreement with the AIDS Centre in Shymkent, which was a big step forward for us. A close working relationship with a government body like this will hopefully allow us to reach a much larger quantity of students and teenagers in the city, enabling us to more effectively tackle the challenge of HIV/AIDS, which is still growing here.

The innovative interactive project which we call the AIDS-Xperience has been going for six years already, and remains an entirely free resource for people in the city. During that time, more than 4,200 people have learnt more about the problems of HIV/AIDS and the importance of making good life decisions.

The AIDS Xperience was developed by Crossroads Foundation Inc in Hong Kong, and its unique form of walk-through simulation makes it a highly effective form of training, allowing participants to literally walk in the shoes of someone at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, by hearing their life story whilst passing through different rooms representing scenes from their life. Students, those in the higher grades of school, and representatives of NGOs have all discovered key facts and learnt the importance of compassion towards those directly affected by HIV/AIDS.

We have certainly found that this format is very effective by providing an immensely realistic feeling of what it is like to be in each situation of their lives, and enabling participants to gain not just knowledge but empathy and understanding towards those who are HIV positive. The goal is not just greater understanding of the issues and risks to help reduce infection rates, though this is of course vital, but also breaking down assumptions and prejudices around the whole subject of HIV/AIDS, fighting the discrimination and marginalisation that is still so common here.

This new agreement is another big step forward in the realisation of these goals!

The five Salem projects we continue to develop
The five Salem projects we continue to develop
The local advert for Salem
The local advert for Salem's English courses
Dec 29, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy new year from everyone at Salem!
Happy new year from everyone at Salem!

As Salem closes for its festive break over New Year, we want to wish all our donors and supporters a very Happy New Year! 

2018 has been a busy one for us, and just recently we had possibly our most famous visitor yet, when Wheelchair Man - or at least his creator - came to see around Salem.

Mohammad Sayed was abandoned by his family in Afghanistan after his house was bombed and he was left paralysed. Now he has become a US citizen, and designed a comic book superhero - Wheelchair Man - based on his own life story.

His desire is to bring a message of hope and empowerment to children with disabilities around the world, and he focuses his creative talents on developing adaptive tools for people in wheelchairs, as well as creating comic book characters such as Wheelchair Man to inspire others facing physical challenges. His goal is not only to help rebuild hope and confidence among people with disabilities but also to raise the consciousness of people everywhere to the abilities of those in wheelchairs.

Not only was he delighted to see the work that we do with people with disabilities, but we surprised him with a mural of his very own Wheelchair Man on the wall at Salem! He has various other ideas for further comic book characters, and mentioned that maybe one of them should come from Kazakhstan! Now that would be special.

We trust that you have a peaceful and prosperous 2019, and that along with everyone at Salem, and Mohammed himself, your desire to inspire others and raise awareness of the bigger issues continues to grow.

With many thanks,

Tim, on behalf of the Social Village team

Mohammed and friends by his brand new mural
Mohammed and friends by his brand new mural
Mohammed in the Salem cafe hearing about our work
Mohammed in the Salem cafe hearing about our work
 
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