Sunday, March 02, 2014

Blanket challenge week 4 .. Transition house

bringing HOPE to the HOPELESS 

So I think you should go get yourself a cup of coffee, then come back and listen to this story .

In the spring of 2008 we first met Jenish .  At that time he had been working with the homeless for about 3 years.  and had just come on as the in country director of the rehabilitation centre.   Here is a video with a  little history about Jenish .. and a few photos for those that can not play the video.  

The problem of the homeless is one that just does not go away ..
 Below is part one of a documentary on the homeless that was done last year ..   There was a team of Journalism students that came and followed Jenish around for a couple weeks .. What they found was disturbing ..  If you ever wonder how Jenish can be such a fun loving guy.. maybe its simply a defense mechanism     ( Caution these videos are disturbing, please do not watch with your kids in the room
Part 1   

Part 2 

Working with the homeless can become very depressing and draining , especially if you have nothing better to offer , 

this is the government shelter 
One of the men found on the streets 
Many live in the sewer system during the cold winter
Jenish brought Jamal in off the streets where he was homeless, today he is the main worker at the chicken farm that has become the heart beat of the rehabilitation centre.  made possible by some of you ,  
For eight years, Jenish worked at the rehab centre, determined to not only have a place to bring the men people he was trying to help, but also to show them a better future.  Jenish faced two big obstacles, One being on going funding for the centre, and the other being the relapse rate when men try to integrate back into society.   The first problem was addressed with the implementation of market gardens as well as the production of honey.  This took the pressure off, but was not enough.    Last year , Jenish was able to secure the funding , and build an Egg farm at the centre .  This was what was needed, and today those at the centre tell us that it is that chicken farm that has sustained them and allowed them to continue to support those living there.  

Next was to address the second issue .. support for the men when they leave the centre .  Those who had the community support did very well, but for those who had no support could manage for a time, but when life through a curve at them, they would often return to the original vice.  If there was some one or some where that they could turn to , they would be able to remain on the right path, but on their own , there is just no hope.  

At the same time as this reality was concerning Jenish also continued to carry a burden for "his  friends on the street"   In the summer of 2013, it was time to come up with a plan and tackle this problem .  

It was Jenishes dream to open a centre for those that were struggling and at risk of a fall.  Not a place to conquer their addictions, but the next step when they had.   They needed a resource centre that could help them threw life's challenges.  
We began this by renting a small one room apartment in the centre of Bishkek . 

Giving a tour of the carving shop to a team visiting from Halifax 

To keep the men active, they started a small carving shop where they focus on custom carvings.  
Here those that have the skills can do the main carving, and instruct those developing their skills to work on things like sanding and polishing .  

This is the entrance hall, the kitchen where they cook for the homeless, as well as where the wood for carving is stored, not to mention the only room with water for the ment to get washed up. 
working on custom carvings .   This room is the carving room, the varnishing room as well as the room where the men live and sleep.  The room is small, but it is so much better then where they came from.

this is a carving of our young friend victor receiving a food bag.. We commissioned these pieces for members of the teams that came in the fall.  It was a way for them to support the program, as well as something for them to bring home that would have real meaning to them as they remember their time in Kyrgyzstan.  
Other carvings that have been done by the centre also have great personal meaning, Like this one that was done of a couple of our little friends that are now brothers in their forever family in the United States.  You would have to see this carving in person to see how they have captured the children so well .  I almost kept it myself ..


Just keeping the men busy for the sake of keeping busy was not enough .. these men need a sense of purpose.   So the funds that are generated from the sale of the carvings goes to provide meals for the homeless . 

Konibek preparing meals for the homeless
 at his home.  
Here Konibek is delivering meals to the homeless.. These are the
same streets that he was rescued from so many years ago.
today he is an active hard working member of society, and
although he does not live at the centre , he continues to help
Jenish care for the men that do . 

The problem that we are now facing is that Centre that we are currently using is simply way to small and crowded.  so we have begun to look for a new location.  Out thought is to move out of the city, far enough out that we can find something larger and more affordable, as well as with a bit of land so that we can expand operations to diversify , maybe with having a small sheep farm, but still be close enough to Bishkek to continue the feeding program as well as being close to the job market for those we are helping to become independant

Emma and Bekah checking the Gate .  This is where postings are put up for houses for sale or rent in the area .  All the little villages have them .. They are praying that one day they will find the right place at the right price.. and that will coincide with the right donation 

Our goal it to purchase a fixer upper that we can get cheep, and build and repair as we move along, and as more people access the centre.   Right now a fixer upper starts at about $8000.  Until we are able to secure a place to purchase, we will continue looking for something that we can rent.  To cover this will be about $400 a month.  We recognise that $8000 is a lot of money to be looking for, but we also recognise that this is a long term project that will impact so many in the years to come.  If we can make the investment now, we will be much stronger and successful in the future .   As we see the interest of you our sponsors, we will determine what direction we are to go, but what we do know is that it is time to do something.   
  Would you consider a one time donation toward this project, or perhaps you would commit to a monthly pledge to help with the on going support of the centre .  
Thats what this weeks Blanket challenge is about .. A big step for sure , but one with a long term impact .  

For the sake of the blanket totals , if an on going monthly pledge is made, we will take use the total pledged for 12 months to determine the top donor

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