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Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens

by Salem Union
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Inspire the Growth of Kazakhstan's Global Citizens
Some of our wonderful flexible English teachers
Some of our wonderful flexible English teachers

These are challenging times for all of us. Here at Salem, we continue to do what we can, though restrictions mean that all our English courses have to be online at present and our normal income is down by 30%. All our other social projects are on hold until things open up once more, and we're looking carefully at how else we can invest in people during the present uncertainty.

Our staff have been amazingly responsive, flexible and generous with their time as we've adapted our curriculum materials at short notice! Our clients have also been very understanding, but are as keen as us to get back to in-person activities on site. We know that you are also experiencing your own challenges and uncertainties at this time, however we'd love to make the most of the opportunity next week to make every small donation go a whole lot further.

All this week until Friday 18th, GlobalGiving is matching all online donations up to $50/£38 at 50% - all week, with no limit on matching funds.

We've all learned recently how important the little actions are - whether keeping your distance, washing your hands, or wearing a mask. We want to invite you to join us in celebrating the power of small acts of kindness, and helping Salem continue its great work even during these turbulent times.

PLEASE ACT NOW TO HELP SALEM!

Please note that this matching offer is only valid until the end of Friday, so please don't miss it! Full terms and conditions are available here.

Please also note that donations on the GlobalGiving site can be made in AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP or USD - choose your currency from the drop down menu on the donation details page.

Please help us continue to invest in the next generation of leaders here while the matching funding is available. Even small donations will make a bigger difference this week!

Thank you.

All that you need to know
All that you need to know

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The SalemHub cafe is a great place to spend time!
The SalemHub cafe is a great place to spend time!

Dear friends,

Greetings from Kazakhstan! We trust you and your loved ones are staying well in these challenging times.

Here at Salem Social Village, we're now in our second period of lockdown, and so our activities are heavily restricted. However, over the first half of this year we've still been busy!

Salem Youth continued up until lockdown hit in March, with all sorts of fun activities, including fruit art! We also held our annual Essential Teacher Skills conference for English teachers around the city. Once again this was very well attended, with seminars and discussion groups supplementing the various sessions. Unfortunately, we were only able to hold the first of the two days planned as lockdown prevented us continuing, but the feedback from attendees was very positive all the same.

We also just had the chance, before everything halted, to hold a popular local quiz night in the SalemHub cafe. 'Quiz Please!' has become very popular around here, and we ran the very first English version at Salem! Salem staff put together two teams, and everyone had a whole lot of fun.

Meanwhile, we carry on with the normal investment in staff, including our Business Breakfast training, and specific sessions with the teachers. All of our staff have been incredibly flexible as the lockdown regulations have constantly been adjusted, initially going on unpaid leave when we had to close, then running some online replacement courses, then starting a new semester under social distancing rules when lockdown ended, and now shifting to teaching entirely online as the city re-enters lockdown. And the feedback from students and parents continues to be incredibly positive, despite all the upheaval!

All our social projects, including the World Without Limits social club, are entirely on hold at present, and we're waiting to see what the future holds, both financially and in terms of what activities can re-start in due course - just like everyone else right now!

Thanks for your support for Salem!

Making art ... out of fruit! Lots of fun for all
Making art ... out of fruit! Lots of fun for all
The Teachers' Conference in full flow
The Teachers' Conference in full flow
Sharing feedback from break-out group discussions
Sharing feedback from break-out group discussions
Teachers busy planning for adjusted courses
Teachers busy planning for adjusted courses

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Dear friends,

Around the world this is a challenging and tense time for many. However, stepping back from the immediate global crisis, we wanted to share our progress during 2019 with you.

Looking back, we compiled quite a list of activities over the year, which forms something of an annual report. In 2019:

  • 2,000 people studied on our English courses
  • 75 of these from disavantaged communities studied with partial discounts or completely for free
  • There were 20 meetings of the World Without Limits social club for people with disabilities
  • There were 40 meetings of the Salem Youth club encouraging volunteering among young people
  • We held 40 'Business Breakfast' training sessions for staff and guests
  • We signed an agreement with the city's AIDS Centre to partner together in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS issues
  • 800 people took part in the AIDS Xperience simulation
  • Our Essential Teacher Skills conference was attended by 90 teachers from around the city
  • We distributed 130 baskets of groceries funded by a local charity to families in need
  • We hosted a presentation by the mobile phone company Beeline about employing people with disabilities
  • We celebrated Nauryz, the Kazakh New Year, with about 400 guests
  • The Shymkent Run Club held 2 presentations in our cafe
  • We held 6 meetings with the local environmental activist Damir Karimov
  • The local charity Wings of Freedom held a conference in our cafe with 50 participants on the theme of 'Let's talk about equality'
  • The Russian photographer Yegor Voinov held a masterclass at Salem
  • The Association of Family Businesses held a conference in our cafe with 50 participants on the theme of 'Family Business'
  • 20 adults and 20 children took part in acting classes held by Sylvia Alloway from California, including their final performance in the cafe at the end of the course
  • 50 young people attended our Youth Leadership Camp for young leaders
  • Mohammed Said from the US, who was disabled by a bomb as a child in Afghanistan and now raises awareness of disability issues around the world, visited Salem
  • We sent furniture and wheelchairs to the Shardara Disabled Association in a town outside the city
  • We distributed a further 60 wheelchairs to people with disabilities around the city
  • The VegaLife group ran a masterclass in vegan cooking in our cafe
  • The Community Plus charity held two workships at Salem
  • The EcoFest and plogging event was attended by 23 people
  • Other events at Salem in 2019 included an artistic masterclass for beginners, a seminar with Bill Einreinhoffer from the New York Film Academy, and the city theatre's programme at the New Year party for the World Without Limits social club
  • And finally, Salem was very proud to receive a significant recognition at the inaugural Ozgeris Ustasy (creator of change) awards

This year is already proving to be quite different in lots of ways, and internet restrictions at present mean we can't send you any pictures this time around, but be assured that we continue to work to see Global Citizens grow wherever possible!

Thanks for reading, on behalf of everyone at Salem Social Village.

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Arman & Angela with Salem's recent award
Arman & Angela with Salem's recent award

Salem Social Village was the very proud recipient of a significant and unusual award last month at the inaugural government-sponsored Ozgeris Ustasy awards (which means Creator of Change in Kazakh). Our many years of work to create change were recognised as we scooped a prize for developing social entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan.

The Ozgeris Ustasy awards were a new initiative from the Ministry of Information and Social Development, and were held at the grand Centre for the Support of Civil Initiatives in Almaty. Arman, our General Director, and his wife Angela, our Personnel Director (above), were able to attend and receive Salem's award.

Arman said, "From the stage I told them that social entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan feel lonely right now. Not many people understand or support our work. People see social ideas and projects as risky. We have to work hard against a lot of inertia and with many systems against us in order to make progress. Thanks to this awards ceremony, have received recognition and acknowledgment, not just from the government but from Civil Society."

And recognition on a national stage is also another great step forward on Salem's long-term journey to bringing change here, for which we all feel very proud and grateful.

Meanwhile, recently we held an EcoFest at Salem, because we care about the planet and want to encourage people to do their bit. As part of the event, we did some plogging! Dressed, equipped and ready, our intrepid volunteers headed off in this unusual combined pursuit of getting some exercise and cleaning up a bit as they went along.

And they were certainly successful on both fronts: a significant amount of rubbish was collected, and everyone was very inspired - which is something to celebrate in a culture where everyone assumes that social problems are the government's responsibility to solve.

Finally, may we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2020!

The awards event was full of the normal wow factor
The awards event was full of the normal wow factor
Arman speaking to acknowledge Salem's award
Arman speaking to acknowledge Salem's award
Ploggers heading off to begin their mission
Ploggers heading off to begin their mission
Sorting through the piles of litter collected
Sorting through the piles of litter collected
Celebrating a good morning's work!
Celebrating a good morning's work!
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The Salem Youth Leadership Camp 2019
The Salem Youth Leadership Camp 2019

Presentations from various engaging speakers on some highly relevant topics; meeting like-minded people; making new friends; baursak (a very popular local fried snack) and plov (a well-known Central Asian dish of slow-cooked meat and rice); live music; dancing; team games; a unique cross-cultural interactive game called 'Baffa-Baffa'; competitions and prizes; a fun active time; reflection and discussion; unforgettable moments. So what's it got to be? Yes, that's right - the Youth Leadership Camp at Salem!

Now well established as an annual event, this year it was again hailed as 'best ever'! With 50 young people from 14 to 20 years old, we looked at the habits and skills of great leaders, and gave them a chance to explore their own personalities and characteristics in light of them.

We talked a lot about values - not just giving lectures about them, but actually exploring the realities of how we interact and make decisions ... by interacting and making decisions! After the team games were done, we reflected on the experiences from the various activities, considering our own reactions to the situations we were in and to the others in the team. It was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot more than just fun.

Young people here aspire to more. They're asking big questions about life, freedom, principles, leadership. Many have given up on their country and just want to escape to somewhere better. But at Salem Social Village, we take delight in inspiring them to look deeper and think for themselves - and many are discovering that good answers to their questions are much more accessible than they think!

Everyone had a chance to find their own voice
Everyone had a chance to find their own voice
Team games required a lot of ... well, teamwork!
Team games required a lot of ... well, teamwork!
Others required different ways of working together
Others required different ways of working together
And then they had to navigate complete blindness!
And then they had to navigate complete blindness!
Making new friends was just as important
Making new friends was just as important

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Organization Information

Salem Union

Location: Shymkent, South Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ssvshymkent
Project Leader:
Tim Munday
Shymkent, South Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
$41,001 raised of $75,000 goal
 
214 donations
$33,999 to go
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