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
Activity Camp in full swing
Activity Camp in full swing

It was back in June 1996 that Salem Union, the registered charity organisation that runs Salem Social Village, was first registered. The 1990s here were a very challenging time in many ways following the end of the Soviet Union, and the city has dramatically changed since then - and so has Salem! We've come a very long way since our small beginnings.

The whole team is very proud to be celebrating this significant mark: a quarter century of operation. However, due to current restrictions, we couldn't hold a big party. Instead, we're having a year of various smaller events to mark the anniversary. One of these was a competition for our English students to win a free course with us by promoting Salem on social media with a short self-produced video (see link below). They all did a great job!

Our English courses continue to go from strength to strength, despite the pandemic. This year we even hosted a mini graduation ceremony for those students finishing our final course at Advanced level. They loved the chance to dress up and have their great achievements recognized! And now that the worst of the lockdown restrictions are hopefully behind us, this summer semester has been one of the largest by student numbers we've ever had!

Meanwhile, the AIDS Xperience continues to serve the young people of the city. This experiential simulation educates people about dangers and descrimination by taking them on a journey through the life of someone at risk of HIV/AIDS. It is now being jointly managed by Salem and the city AIDS Centre. It's rewarding when people's attitudes are challenged and their awareness improved.

Recently, Salem was able to host an Activity Camp for children from disadvantaged backgrounds organized by our friends at Mayak (Lighthouse), another local NGO in the city. With school holidays lasting three months here, camps or activity weeks like this play a big part in the summer timetable, but for those on the edges there are often few opportunities. They had a lot of fun doing all sorts of things, and we were very happy to help - and that they all seemed to enjoy their lunch in our cafe each day!

Everyone having a great time together!
Everyone having a great time together!
Some recent visitors to our AIDS Xperience
Some recent visitors to our AIDS Xperience
The board listing all our English courses
The board listing all our English courses
Graduates from our final course at Advanced level
Graduates from our final course at Advanced level
More certificates recently issued to our students
More certificates recently issued to our students

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Taking in one of the conference sessions
Taking in one of the conference sessions

Like with many parts of the world just now, things are still somewhat restricted in Kazakhstan at the moment due to Covid. However, unlike for some, there is enough freedom to hold events in small groups, so long as certain limits are not exceeded.

And so it was that we were able to avoid moving to an online event for Salem Social Village's annual conference for English Teachers in the city this year. As ever there was lots of interest, but we kept it small. Instead of the normal plenary sessions, we structured everything around multiple small seminars.

This meant that we were able to put on a viable event within the rules of what was allowed, and cover a greater variety of topics than ever before. The event had a very different feel to it, unsurprisingly, but feedback was again very positive, with many commenting on how helpful it was to focus in on the softer side of education, surrounding attitudes, identity, respect and so on.

There are lots of things we at Salem still can't do due to COVID restrictions, but it's rewarding to be able to get on with those things that we can do! Investing in those who are educating the city's next generation is always worthwhile.

The attendees all together - but only outside!
The attendees all together - but only outside!
Gathering inspiration
Gathering inspiration
Gaining new knowledge
Gaining new knowledge

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Marking International Day of Volunteering
Marking International Day of Volunteering

Much like many places around the world, life is yet to return to normal at Salem after the effects of the pandemic on normal life. Large gatherings and parties are still banned, and that has meant that most of our social projects have been put on hold. Salem Youth cannot meet; we cannot invite groups to go through the AIDS X-perience; and the cafe has only recently been able to re-open.

It's been great to welcome back the World Without Limits social club to Salem just recently, with regulations now meaning that they can meet in limited form - for which they are very grateful. But the normal annual season of New Year parties - for them, for various kids from disadvantaged families, and for our students - will certainly not be happening this year.

Meanwhile, a run of key dates have passed without the opportunity to hold any events to raise awareness of them. Instead, Salem staff put together various social media posts to ensure they were nonetheless noted in some way: 1st December which was the International Day of the Fight against HIV/AIDS; 3rd December which was the International Day for People with Disabilities; and 5th December which was the International Day of Volunteering.

We shall see what 2021 holds, but please be assured that Salem is continuing to engage with these social issues and to take action wherever possible - even if it is with a difference.

With thanks and best wishes from everyone at Salem Social Village

PS Thanks too for all those of you who got involved in Giving Tuesday to support Salem last week, what a great day of global fundraising!

International Day of People with Disabilities
International Day of People with Disabilities
Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS during the pandemic
Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS during the pandemic

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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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Organization Information

Salem Union

Location: Shymkent, South Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ssvshymkent
Project Leader:
Tim Munday
Shymkent, South Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
$54,249 raised of $75,000 goal
 
286 donations
$20,751 to go
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