By Viktoria (Vika) Fatyanova - Team Leader, Community Care
Vika (second left) at the club on Women's Day
In January, I was appointed as the new leader for our Community Care team which runs many social projects at Salem Social Village. I want to tell you about our Social Club for disabled people called Corner of Hope. We meet every second week and give an opportunity for people who have to stay at home most of the time to get out and have fun together. Disabled people here often don't leave their homes because there is nowhere they can go, and people shun them - there is often shame associated with having a disability.
We have many volunteers who love coming to have fun too, spending time together and playing games. They are students who wouldn't normally have friends who are disabled, but we see how their confidence grows when they discover that they can help other people and make them smile. Recently some of them helped us take some of the disabled people to the cinema for the first time ever!
One of the girls who comes every time, also called Viktoria, has particularly benefitted from the club. Her Mum says that she has changed a lot, talking more and seeming much more confident now. She isn't just sat in her room all the time, but has found a new purpose, and friends. That's why we're seeing the club grow - they keep inviting others along. A year ago we started with five people, now we have about 30 every time! Thank you for helping us bring hope to people like Viktoria, it is making a big difference.
In 2013, Salem Social Village was born – and what a year! Here are some of the highlights as we look back at all that has been achieved so far:
In April, Crossroads Central Asia officially became Salem Social Village
The AIDS Xperience opened and over 530 people went through it!
The Corner of Hope social club for people with disabilities was started
We began monthly visits to an orphanage for children with disabilities
Four of our team attended experiential learning training at Crossroads HK
We held our very first Open Day, receiving some very positive media coverage
We received three 40-foot containers full of quality donated goods which we distributed to over 40 charity organisations who are directly working with over a thousand of the most needy in Central Asia
We had more than 1,100 students on our English and leadership courses
Our café roasted more than 70kg of coffee, baked over 1,000 muffins, prepared over 5,200 cups of coffee and served more than 10,000 clients!
Thanks to everyone who has supported us in different ways and helped make it such a great year! We're looking forward to more in 2014. And to all of our friends and supporters, we wish you a very Happy New Year.