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Dec 15, 2014

More Celebrations of Generosity

All our volunteers at the Volunteers
All our volunteers at the Volunteers' Celebration

Hello to all our supporters from Shymkent, Kazakhstan! We want to thank you for all your donations to support our work in the last year, and acknowledge your generosity in helping us be effective in so many ways.

Here at Salem Social Village, December is definitely all about generosity! Just last week, in recognition of International Volunteer Day, we held a special event for all our volunteers to celebrate the generous use of their time over the last year. Volunteering isn't a common idea here, so it was great to be able to recognise and award their achievements, hear from some of those they've helped, and have a good time fun together.

We also brought #GivingTuesday to Kazakhstan for the first time ever, by inviting people here in Shymkent - friends, students, local companies, staff - to be generous and sponsor a Christmas gift for a child from a disadvantaged background, who may otherwise not receive any presents over the festive period. We were very excited when #GivingTuesday featured us with an article about what we are doing.

Throughout December we've also set ourselves the target of finding 20 new monthly donors to help us become even more effective, and we're very grateful to all those who have already made donations. However, we're still looking for more people to help us, and it's not too late to get involved, so if you can consider a donation of any size please visit our UK donation page or our US donation page (where an anonymous donor is currently matching all new recurring donations!!!).

Meanwhile, thanks again for all your support during 2014, and on behalf of everyone at Salem Social Village, I'd like to wish you and your family a joyful and peace-filled Christmas season.

Tim

PS If you don't already receive our monthly Village Leaf email, please sign up on our website to keep up with all our latest news!

Our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Dastan, at the event
Our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Dastan, at the event
Attendees listen studiously to the speeches
Attendees listen studiously to the speeches
One of those helped by the volunteers says thanks
One of those helped by the volunteers says thanks
A happy volunteer receiving his certificate
A happy volunteer receiving his certificate
More volunteers show off their rewards
More volunteers show off their rewards

Links:

Sep 15, 2014

Introducing the Salem Social Cafe

Pasha with the old and new cafe signs
Pasha with the old and new cafe signs

In June this year, we hired a new manager for our cafe. Here, he explains our vision for the cafe that resulted in the name change.

Hello, I'm Pasha, and I came here as a volunteer for about 6 years before I finally started to work here. When the cafe opened 3 years ago, I wanted to help and they asked me to roast the coffee. It was hard to learn to do it right but I can make great coffee now - my love for coffee grew and I've never looked back!

When it opened, it was the English Cup, for people to come who were learning English who wanted to meet foreigners and practice their English. But now that we're Salem Social Village, learning English is only one of the things we do. The cafe is where English Conversation Clubs happen, the Corner of Hope social club for people with disabilities, the volunteering club, our Friday evening social events, and much more!

Our new name is the Salem Social Cafe, because this is the heart of the community at the Social Village. We work hard to create a great atmosphere, welcoming everyone and making them feel special - we try and give unusually friendly service compared to what they're used to. We're also the only social cafe in the city (and maybe the country!), all our profits go towards other projects to help those in need, but we are still very proud of our good quality food and drinks - especially the coffee!

Unique, welcoming and quality - that's how we want people to know us. I love working with a team of great people who are part of something that's making a difference in Shymkent. Thanks for your support in making this possible!

The new sign:
The new sign: 'Salem Social Cafe' in Kazakh
The social club having fun in the cafe
The social club having fun in the cafe
Students having fun in the cafe
Students having fun in the cafe
Pasha hard at work making coffee
Pasha hard at work making coffee
The cafe team (spot the old English Cup sign!)
The cafe team (spot the old English Cup sign!)

Links:

Jun 16, 2014

Salem Training Centre launched

Madina at the entrance to the AIDS Xperience
Madina at the entrance to the AIDS Xperience

Hello! My name is Madina, and since January I've been working at Salem Social Village to oversee and develop our simulation games. Recently we changed the name of the project from Life Xperience (which was a bit hard to explain in Russian!) to Training Centre, which has helped people understand how we want to fight descrimination and make them think through teaching about global issues.

I love running our simulation games and seeing people's outlook change. For example, two guys who came with their class to go through our AIDS Xperience were just joking around the whole time. But afterwards they were really serious and quiet, and asked how they could take part in our social projects, even when their friends were laughing about them playing with kids in an orphanage. And I see lots of example like that from our different simulation games.

We don't only teach about AIDS or life in a slum. We're developing new games at the moment about themes like rich and poor, needing water, what it's like to be in a wheelchair all the time, and how to understand different cultures better. We know what we do at the Training Centre can help improve attitudes here, where young people often only think about themselves.

We've started an important partnership with Nazarbayev Intellectual School, which is funded by the government to give the best children the best education. We are running simulations and activities for their Global Issue lessons, which is a great way to prepare them to take on responsibility for the future of Kazakhstan - and it means everyone else in the city also thinks that we must be great if we're working with them!

Thank you for supporting Salem Social Village, and helping us change attitudes in this important way!

Our team (and the President) at Nazarbayev School
Our team (and the President) at Nazarbayev School
NIS students figuring out the simulation game
NIS students figuring out the simulation game
Students taking part in the Struggle for Survival
Students taking part in the Struggle for Survival
Hanging reflections on the AIDS Xperience tree
Hanging reflections on the AIDS Xperience tree
Our volunteers in an outdoor Struggle for Survival
Our volunteers in an outdoor Struggle for Survival

Links:

 
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