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Jun 11, 2015

Tomiris's magical country

Meet Tomiris, she
Meet Tomiris, she's the girl on the far right!

One of our volunteering students, Tomiris (far right), was inspired to write an article about us for a regional newspaper. We got her permission to translate it and reproduce it here – the photos are ours, but the words are hers. 

“I think of this place like a magical country, where kindness, peace and love rule. And everyone who has ever visited this wonderful place carries in their soul something life-changing that they will never lose.

“I won’t keep you guessing, as you are probably desperate to know where this ideological world is. But before I go on, let me assure you that these are not empty words: this place that is truly so wonderful is located in our very own city, Shymkent.

“Salem Social Village is a special place, where everyone is given the opportunity to develop in every way, becoming wiser and more charitable. Salem is a combination of social projects – for example, the unique project ‘English Centre’ allows you to acquire English quickly, effectively and at an accessible pace. The teachers are native speakers from America and Britain, and highly qualified local staff, who are able to give quality knowledge which is especially needed in the modern world where English is becoming increasingly demanded.

“The close connection between the projects Training Centre, Volunteering and Care teaches you in practical ways to be more sensitive and tolerant of those around you. There is good reason that the expression, ‘If you want to understand someone, walk a mile in his shoes’ became the motto of these projects. At the Village, they regularly train people and offer volunteering opportunities which leave people feeling helpful, needed and loved – a genuine and important part of the community around them.

“Alongside the Volunteering and Care project, the Humanitarian Aid project assists many orphanages, rehabilitation centres and needy families in South Kazakhstan.

“Basically, many great things have been done by our volunteers for the good and prosperity of our city. Most often, people become part of this big friendly family by visiting the Salem Social Cafe, because by visiting any of the events held there, a person simply cannot remain uninterested in the activities of the whole city.”

 

Because of your support, Tomiris' magical country exists. Thank you.

Some of our English Centre students
Some of our English Centre students
Children enjoying a Care project party
Children enjoying a Care project party
Having fun at our Hawaiian Party!
Having fun at our Hawaiian Party!
Could you get around Shymkent in a wheelchair?
Could you get around Shymkent in a wheelchair?

Links:

Mar 13, 2015

A place to rest

Spring comes to the Social Village
Spring comes to the Social Village

Curtis, our Director of Education, explains how our English Centre project is demonstrating the power of social entrepreneurship...

The English Centre at Salem Social Village is something we're very proud of, with an excellent team of teachers delivering high quality courses with great care and professionalism. We seek to earn the trust of our students and many consider us to have the best courses in the city. They are an important part of operations at the Social Village, bringing in significant revenue to support other projects.

One of those studying with us is Daniar, 10, who we've been able to support with a 100% scholarship for his English course. His father left when he was very young, and his mother has serious disabilities from suffering carbon monoxide poisoning. His brother ran away from home as a result of the trauma of his mother's problems and Daniar is cared for by distant relatives. It's a tragic story of how young lives can be caught up in tragedy, and far more than any 10 year old should be expected to experience.

We can't solve everyone's problems, but it's a joy to play a part in this little guy's development. Daniar himself believes one thing for certain - time at the Social Village for him is a genuine support, and English will give him excellent opportunities for the future. He loves visiting here so much that he comes an hour early for his lessons. "I can rest here," he says. And his excellent grades show he could yet go far.

Putting our new Welcome sign up
Putting our new Welcome sign up
The new Welcome sign proudly in place
The new Welcome sign proudly in place
A local musician on International Guitarists
A local musician on International Guitarists' day
Our staff
Our staff's concert to support new English courses
More staff performers, and local TV crew
More staff performers, and local TV crew

Links:

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:

 
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