Aug 29, 2016

Ivan's Story

Ivan himself collecting some of the donated items
Ivan himself collecting some of the donated items

We thought that this story would be about how, through the request of a guy named Ivan, Salem Social Village was able to send some much needed material assistance to the Medvedko family, who live in the village of Granitogorsk, in the Taraz region. They have 9 children, and so just getting by is pretty tough for them – we were glad to be able to help.

But what we discovered was that the real story turned out to be Ivan’s.

Ivan is now just over 30 years old. He’s a strong and good looking guy, full of energy and exuding kindness. He’s an active volunteer with a charitable organisation which helps homeless people, very large families, people with disabilities and many others in need.  All unremarkable, except that… Ivan has a group 2 disability: most of his legs and the fingers of his hands have been amputated.

An orphan and a homeless alcoholic, he spent a whole night lost in the steppe at minus 20 degrees C, only being rescued by charity volunteers who saved him and helped him get his life back. >>> Read more of Ivan's story here >>>

“I don’t regret anything. Even though it cost me so much, I have found genuine treasure. What would I say now? Appreciate what you have! Do good to others – it is the source of true happiness, and we can all do it!”

When you set out to help those in need, you anticipate encountering endless stories of tragedy, sadness and despair. But there are so many out there, like Ivan, who have inspiring stories that bring hope. We love meeting them, hearing their stories and enabling them to help others even more than they were already doing. And then telling their stories, in the hope of inspiring others to also get involved.

Thanks for supporting us, as we support people like Ivan.

Some of the Medvedko children
Some of the Medvedko children

Links:

Jun 10, 2016

Helping and empowering

Love Kazakhstan volunteers doing what they do best
Love Kazakhstan volunteers doing what they do best

As you will be aware by now, we at Salem Social Village love helping people. However, our focus isn't on just assisting those in need; rather, it's about empowering people who can empower others. That's why our projects include education, humanitarian aid, volunteering, a cafe - it's all about passing something on to those who can bring incremental change.

A good example of this is a recent shipment of humanitarian aid that we were able to send to the Almaty-based non-profit organisation ‘Love Kazakhstan’, an inspiring outfit dedicated to helping the most vulnerable groups in society – whether single mothers, the disabled, or anyone else in significant need.

One of the families that they helped recently, the Mamyrbaevs, had just escaped from severe flooding that destroyed their home and almost everything in it. Using items from our shipment, supplied by Crossroads in Hong Kong, Love Kazakhstan was able to help them set up their lives again in a new home.

One of the most inspiring things we found in all this was one of the volunteers with Love Kazakhstan, Almaz, who shared his life story with us. After a very difficult childhood, including a father who walked out on the family, he became convinced of the need not for revenge but of finding joy through helping others.

"I was filled with new feelings, new needs – I wanted to do more, something kind and more important!” he told us. And he's now working to get help to those who need it most. Now that's the kind of people we love to empower.

The Mamyrbaev family with their new furniture
The Mamyrbaev family with their new furniture
They now have something to sleep on at night
They now have something to sleep on at night
Some of the clothes that were also donated to them
Some of the clothes that were also donated to them

Links:

Jun 1, 2016

Taking off

Everyone having fun at the birthday party!
Everyone having fun at the birthday party!

You know something's going well when it doesn't need much looking after any more.

For a long time, we ran English Conversation Club three times each week in our cafe, where a native English speaker facilitated conversation practice for local students. However, when we weren't able to continue it earlier this year due to staffing issues, we hadn't expeted that it would nonetheless continue.

Some of the students decided that even if we weren't able to organise anything, they would just get on and organise it themselves - and they do! Each time, one of them comes prepared with a topic for everyone to discuss, and they sit there having all sorts of debates and conversations, in English, even welcoming new-comers who turn up.

We've always had a vision for our cafe to be a place where a new kind of community is built - something where people feel welcomed, empowered, safe, and given the freedom to express themselves whilst discovering a new way of looking at the world. The decision of these students to keep coming, keep talking to each other, keep choosing our cafe to hang out in and practice English together, shows that this place is really taking off!

Last month we also welcomed a musical due from Almaty who performed at the birthday party for one of the members of World Without Limits, the social club for disabled people that meets in the cafe. Everyone had a lot of fun, as you can see from the photos! However, our cafe is still at risk until we can get a new roof on it. We still have a significant amount to raise in order to put the new roof on, which we'd really like to do this year.

Please consider whether there's anything that you or your friends could do to help us - we really don't want to be in a situation of having to close the cafe, just as things are really taking off.

With love from everyone at Salem Social Cafe, especially our friends and clients!

Live music always draws a crowd
Live music always draws a crowd
...and then everyone wants to dance!
...and then everyone wants to dance!

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.