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Sep 8, 2015

Children, containers and conferences

Some of the kids we've been able to help recently
Some of the kids we've been able to help recently

Arman, our local Executive Director, explains some of the things going on at Salem Social Village this month and next.

This month when school starts again is very hard for families who don't have money. Children need many things for school, books, pens, clothes. We have contact with three families who have very difficult situations. One of them is a single mother with four children - the oldest is just starting First Class (age 6), the youngest is just 8 months. Another has a daughter who is completely paralyzed and can only lie in bed all day. But we have helped them with some of the things they need so that the children can still go to school. They are so grateful that there is someone who cares for them, and we love to help!

At the end of July our container finally arrived from Hong Kong! It was full of quality donated goods for us to distribute to other organisations but paperwork problems meant that its journey took almost three months longer than normal - we waited a long time! Finally we were able to open it and unpack many things which we can send to different places to help them in their work.

The charity sector in Kazakhstan is still very young, many people don't understand what is a non-commercial organisation. One of the big events for this sector is Zhas Camp every year (zhas means young or fresh in Kazakh). It's a conference for two days where non-profit organisations like us in Kazakhstan go to talk together. Different projects are presented, we learn about changes that affect NGOs, and meet with other people doing great work like us. Before now Zhas Camp was always in Almaty, but this year they decided to hold a conference in three different places in Kazakhstan. For the south of the country, Salem Social Village was invited to host the Zhas Camp next month. This is a big honour for us and we are looking forward to welcome many organisations to our site!

The container finally arrives on our site...
The container finally arrives on our site...
...up it goes so the truck can drive away...
...up it goes so the truck can drive away...
...and at long last we get to open it!
...and at long last we get to open it!
Everyone enjoying our recent Open House event
Everyone enjoying our recent Open House event

Links:

Sep 8, 2015

Off to a good start

Guests and friends at our recent Open House event
Guests and friends at our recent Open House event

We launched our fundraising for the new cafe roof in June and immediately had a lot of response from our supporters. One particularly exciting event was when an anonymous donor visited our site via a Google search and made a single donation of £1,000 ($1,500)! Thank you so much, whoever you are!

The cafe was closed during August whilst our English courses took a break for the summer, but we re-launched last week with another Open House event in the cafe. As well as music and entertainment, our staff explained to guests all that we do and interviewed some of those we help. There was a great atmosphere in the cafe as everyone enjoyed themselves at the start of the new semester, as you can see from all our photos.

There are just a couple more important things to tell you - firstly, we've got a great video about why the cafe needs you, which explains more about the project and why the cafe is so important to us. Please share the link with others and spread the word for us!

Secondly, Kazakhstan's currency was recently devalued quite significantly - what this means is that your money now goes a whole lot further. So without doing anything and regardless of any reclaimed tax, your donation now helps us 28% more than it would have before! Another reason to share our needs with others who could also help us reach our target.

Our different projects are explained
Our different projects are explained
Students and friends enjoying a coffee in the cafe
Students and friends enjoying a coffee in the cafe
Presenters and band members pose for a photo
Presenters and band members pose for a photo
Everyone gets to join in the fun
Everyone gets to join in the fun
The all important group photo of all those present
The all important group photo of all those present

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Jun 11, 2015

Tomiris's magical country

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

 
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