Jul 24, 2017

The gift of movement

One wheelchair delivered to a grateful household
One wheelchair delivered to a grateful household

The man lay paralyzed in his bed, groaning incoherently. He had lost almost all movement in his body, and his wife explained that his groans were all he could do to thank us. Yet it was clear that he, along with his wife, was immensely grateful for the wheelchair we had brought for him.

But whilst he was desperately trying to thank us for the gift, we were more interested in thanking this wonderful family for their shining example of loyalty to one another through the hardest of times, showing the kind of commitment in the face of such difficulties that is rarely seen here.

And of course, alongside the joy of giving, of being able to do just a bit to help, we are also very grateful to the donors of the wheelchairs who enabled us to pass on this very special gift of movement.

Thanks to the generosity of Medline Industries, we've been able to distribute a number of high quality wheelchairs to grateful recipients in the city over the last few months. You can read more on our website, but we wanted to take this chance to say thank you for supporting Salem Social Village and the people of Shymkent. We're making a difference.

And another one
And another one
This one was a slightly different situation
This one was a slightly different situation
Someone else we helped - with a scholarship
Someone else we helped - with a scholarship
Kids having fun after their trip to the theatre
Kids having fun after their trip to the theatre
Preview of our new English course curriculum
Preview of our new English course curriculum

Links:

May 11, 2017

Talking, sitting, enabling, and more

The World Without Limits gang at a recent birthday
The World Without Limits gang at a recent birthday

Greetings from Shymkent, where Salem Social Village continues to flourish and develop. The Spring has been a busy period for us - we've got stories about the value of talking, the importance of sitting, the rewards of enabling, the fun of celebrating, and the necessity of fire-fighting

But the story we wanted to share today is about our favorite regulars at Salem Social Cafe, the young people from the World Without Limits social club. We are really proud of the achievements of our dear friends, who we have had the honor of serving and getting to know over more than three years now. We have watched how these young people with disabilities, together with their parents, have moved forward, learned many things, and fought for their dream to become independent and equal members of society.

Today the people from the social club genuinely feel like they are on a more equal footing with their able-bodied peers: they are now able to study on English courses, go to the cinema, a museum or the park, organize for themselves creative fun at Salem, celebrate special occasions and birthdays, and create new friendships and connections through social media.

To a Western onlooker it might not seem like much, but when you consider the average life of a person with disabilities during the time of the Soviet Union, much of which has continued on since then through people’s long-held assumptions and attitudes, these small steps forward are actually enormous mindset-busting cultural innovations. These wonderful people have indeed been able to begin fully realizing their dreams!

Thanks for your part in making that possible.

Training in how to select the correct wheelchair
Training in how to select the correct wheelchair
The trainer, Gerdine, in action
The trainer, Gerdine, in action
How much plov?! Celebrating Nauryz in Shymkent
How much plov?! Celebrating Nauryz in Shymkent
Traditional dress and songs for Kazakh New Year
Traditional dress and songs for Kazakh New Year
Conclusion of the fire-fighting demonstration
Conclusion of the fire-fighting demonstration

Links:

Feb 22, 2017

Spontaneous Annual Report

Enjoying one of our many achievements in 2016
Enjoying one of our many achievements in 2016

Dear supporters,

The idea of an Annual Report isn't necessarily the most exciting. Maybe it's a boring but necessary document; maybe it's just a glossy PR exercise to show how great 'we' are. But have you ever come across an entirely spontaneous Annual Report before?

In a team meeting last month, the task was set to list as many positive events as possible from 2016. The idea was to reflect on what we'd achieved, find encouragement in progress made. The outcome was a consolidated list of 67 different things, of varying natures, which happened last year. Then we thought, 'Let's call it our annual report!'

Some of it you know about, like getting a new roof on the cafe, seeing the young people with disabilities grow and develop, educating people on the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. But other items aren't so talked about, like the small assistance grants to help individuals and families in difficult circumstances, or the growing professionalism of our English teachers.

There were also a few that you might not normally find in a typical annual report, like the new uniforms for our security staff or the chin-up bar to encourage health and fitness!

The outcome of putting this list together was significant encouragement and pride for the team in seeing all that has been done over the last 12 months, and you know that we always love the opportunity to pass on good news!

>>> Read the full annual report for 2016 here! >>>

Thanks for your continuing support for Salem Social Village! Please forgive us if you've already read this story in our Village Leaf email, but if you didn't please sign up for it here to keep up with more news from the Village. 

Another big step forward was the new cafe roof
Another big step forward was the new cafe roof
The current team gathered for the annual photo
The current team gathered for the annual photo

Links:

 
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