Saturday, March 29, 2014

More food drops

Its that time of the year .. crunch time for the University students.  So much work and stress, and add to it the financial pressures that come at the end of a long winter.  For many students everywhere this can be a difficult time.  Bekah and her friends are busy today bringing a little relief.  Once again they have packed some care packages and are busy right now distributing them.

 Once again we are so thankful to so many who have supported this on going effort.

Friday, March 28, 2014

You decide !

We are doing the final packing before we leave home tomorrow morning .  Very excited to have Cody traveling with us .  Almost did not happen. while packing hundreds of pounds of Vitamins, Julie sort of out of the blue asked when Codys Passport expires.. "June"  he said ... " We will be back by then .. what was missed is that to travel out of country , you MUST have six months left from the time you depart.  passport offices are closed Saturday, so that meant he had to have his emergency renewal in to the office before close of business that day .. We are 1 3/4 hours from the office and it closed in 2 hours .. but we still needed to fill out his forms and get his passport photo's done ...  He made it with a couple minutes to spare... so now we are once again excited to have Cody joining us.

We had supper last night with Rachel and the boys.  we always miss them when we go , so it was nice to spend some time with them last night .

so we are all packed up .. 9 bags between the three of us .. we are only allowed to have one bag each so we will have to pay for extra bags $50 for the first and $150 for the second extra each .. fortunately we have donations specifically raised to cover the 400 lbs of Vitamins we are bringing . 
I do have one other small dilemma.. so I am going to leave this one up to you guys to decide.  I have received a request for a special wheel chair.  It is for a 6 or 7 year old child that has CP.  the child is in the orphanage, and the family comes to see him, but can not take him home because they don't have a chair.  We have been asked to find him a chair to help get him around, as well so that he will have better posture when he sits to promote better health.  I thought finding the right chair would be the hard part, but we did find one .  The problem is that it is too small for me and I can not pretend to use it to get it on the plane, and we already have too many bags.  I just called the airlines and they will not budge .. it is going to be $150 US to bring it with us.  So here is what I am going to do .. I will have it ready to go, and if someone sponsors this chair before 8 am tomorrow , I will bring it with me .  If not we will try again in the fall.. the next time we travel over.   If you would like to help with this , you can use the donate button on the right side of the blog . 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Update from Tanya

A couple weeks ago many of you donated toward work at the mens home . The chairs are done now. 

Next week we will start work on the new floor . Here is the report from Tanya .

in the beginning we had peeling old chairs with no seats.

then washed chairs because they were very dirty.

after painted chairs. then cut a seats

from qualitatively tree strong. after cut foam .

Then cut it is like lather.

after everything we connect and we fasten with metal brackets. 

after we connect a chair iron screws. It is very long process,

but men are very happy to do this work as the hands. it is encouraged them

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Update from Bekah

this is the boy that was playing with gas and burnt half of his body from the orphanage
We went to buy an mp3 player for him yesterday and when the seller heard who it was for and what had happened he gave it all to us.
Sergei put a whole bunch of good music on it and gave it to him last night so he had music to listen to

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rejoice with us.

With the tough economic times , not just in Kyrgyzstan, but around the world, there has created a new class of orphans.  The migrant orphans.  We have been seeing this more and more in the orphanages.  Single parents with no family support, leaving their children behind and travel to Russia and other destinations for work, only returning a few times a year.   These are the children that we most often think about.
     There are other migrant orphans in the mix that we often forget about.  The "Migrant worker" from time to time will bring their baby's with them or have a child while away...then become unable to care for them possibly due to sickness or life circumstances. Who looks after these kids.. who is responsible.  These children begin their lives at a disadvantage, and that disadvantage can be multiplied by prejudice as a Kyrgyz child in a foreign, non Kyrgyz land.  These children have been left behind, but not forgotten.
   One of the Government ministries in Kyrgyzstan is working hard to advocate for these babies, and to bring them home.  A lot of red tape and a lot of expense I am sure, but that does not deter them.  I received a letter from the Vice Minister a few days ago requesting our help with this.  Once the babies arrive back in Kyrgyzstan, they will arrive with only the clothes they are wearing.  We have been asked if we can help by purchasing the clothes that they need ..

Right now we are trying to bring 7 kids from Russia, and we were wondering if you would help with clothes for those 7 kids. Thank you in advance, we wish you all the great things and hope that you understand our situation and that you are able to cooperate with us in our efforts. Vice Minister The list of kids: Boy 5 months old- warm onesie( snow suit), hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, undershirt, kangaroo carrying pouch. Boy 3 months warm onesie( snow suit), hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, undershirt, kangaroo carrying pouch. Girl 10 months warm onesie( snow suit) or coat, hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, undershirt, kangaroo carrying pouch. Girl 4 months warm onesie( snow suit), hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, undershirt, kangaroo carrying pouch. Girl 4 months warm onesie( snow suit), hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, undershirt, kangaroo carrying pouch. Boy 11 months warm onesie( snow suit) or a coat, hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, undershirt, kangaroo carrying pouch. Girl 2,5 years coat, shoes, hat, pants, warm sweater, leggings, underwear
As I stated in an earlier post, we have gone ahead and agreed to help in this mater, before finding a sponsor, something I try not to do.   If any of you would like to help with this, we would really appreciate it.  

just in case you missed yesterdays post , I just wanted to say it again because I am so blessed and excited .. A friend of ours has  just received a donation of 45 cases of good quality Vitamins to bring with us to Kyrgyzstan in a couple weeks.. go ahead  rejoice with us !  
I look at this stack of vitamins, and I don't see boxes, but I see the faces of hundreds, and hundreds that will benefit from these .  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Living in the land of Miracles

Emma was hard at it again today , delivering more food ,  here she is bringing flour and oil to one of the orphanages.  She also brought a few cleaning supplies .. at the end of every long cold winter, the cleaning supplies are always in hi demand.  when things get tight, they are one of the fist things to get cut .. so we will see what we can do to get some more for them soon . 

delivering oil and flour 

bringing some food and fellowship to one of Emma's girls at school in the city  

Grandma is happy with her groceries 

Sabira and Emma having a visit 

Auxana is doing well , her house was nice and warm and everyone happy .. nice to see.. they say hi to Dave !  

So while Emma was busy in Kyrgyzstan, Julie and I were on the road again , this time we were in Quebec.  We were so blessed and encouraged with the hospitality .. We are at home when we get there , and never want to leave .   I shared the message " Living in the land of miracles" ...

ferry across the Ottawa river 

We arrived home to a message that 45 cases of vitamins had arrived in town for us to bring to Kyrgyzstan with us ....
45 cases of vitamins bound for orphanages and those in need  in Kyrgyzstan 

This was a result of the hard work of a wonderful Lady who heard a similar message a few weeks ago, and set out determined to fill our bags, not only that, The extra baggage fees for about 5 extra bags covered as well ..  then I picked up the mail and there was a check  ( well actually it was a cheque as it came from a Canadian donor ) to  cover a weeks of MAD money outings with Cody .. 

We have a couple days home now, helping to prepare for a fundraiser for friends heading to Haiti in another month, along with a few meeting and gatherings in the area.  At the end of the week we will be on our way for the weekend to Cincinnati Ohio to bring some more updates, but more importantly for us , having an opportunity to visit with some very special friends.   

Friday, March 14, 2014

More food deliveries

Today the girls were busy cooking and delivering food to many in need . They will be delivering tomorrow as well.  

items in the food packs today .

Emma with victor and his Grandmother 
Victor lives down these tracks 

Luba was glad to see them as well 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

stepping up

I am waiting to here back how much of this storey I will be able to share here on the blog, but right now we have 7 children that a certain level of government in Kyrgyzstan is working hard to help out.  Olga  would like to help them with some of the immediate needs of these kids.  I find it appropriate that this need would come about the week that we are trying to raise funds for Olga and the work that she does .. My guess is that they will need around $50 to $75 a child.  As you know,  I do not normally do this, but I am going to give Emma the go ahead on this one before the funds have been raised .. trusting that they do come in shortly.   As soon as I can get clarification as to what the level of confidentiality they would like, I will share more, but any time orphans needs  are involved, I think we have to step up to the plate.  If you would like to be a part of this little mission.. you can donate using the donate buttons on the right side of the blog.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Looking forward to our return to one of the most beautiful places on earth

Mountains from the edge of town 

Burana tower 

This is a small inlet on lake Isikol 

Two of my girls 

on the way up to the hot springs 

This is were we brought the kids fishing 

Dinner out with friends 

more family 

and maybe a little ride in the park 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

They are at a disadvantage ... but Olga is doing something about that

Education is such an important stepping stone out of poverty.   For a family rescued from the dump or off the streets, Education is usually pretty low on the list of priorities, they are at a disadvantage ..  Children with learning disabilities are overlooked by the school system, and most times end up quitting school .. they are at a disadvantage .. Children that have been abused, will shut down and often have emotional issues .. they are at a disadvantage ..  Children born with disabilities are often discarded and the families that do love them and try to keep them face ridicule by society .. they are at a disadvantage .. Families facing poverty , alcoholism , and broken homes , the children often suffer and can not afford the uniforms or are made to work or beg for food rather then attending school, they are at a disadvantage ...  Orphans in the orphanage are often overlooked at schools and do not get the help that they need .. they are at a disadvantage ..  Children that become sick without proper health care will often miss to much school and end up dropping out .. they are at a disadvantage ..

Olga, centre back row at a government conference 
These are all examples of the kids that Olga advocates for .  Olga does this in a few ways .1)  Olga sits on a local government committee that cares for and advocates for the kids .. 2) Olga works directly with crisis families to help them to access resources so that they can make their homes a better place and keep the children out of the orphanages 3) Olga is the director of Society of Cornelius in Kyrgyzstan ( the in country registered charity that is the counterpart to our US based charitable fund )  and assists us with the day to day operations.  and 4) olga is the director of the knowledge store .. a school that is dedicated to help the disadvantaged.  

The knowledge store is a fully licenced education centre in Kyrgyzstan, teaching basic education as well as speech therapy, music therapy and art therapy.  This was the first of its kind in the region, and has been a key player in forging the way for others , and the recognition of the value of the disabled .

The centre has two classrooms and has approx, 30 to 35 students at any one time .  Most of the students are only with her for a short time until they have caught up enough to return to, or enter the regular school system.  As well we have had the teachers go directly to the orphanages to help the kids there.   The knowledge store is a first stop for kids from families that we are trying to help.. If we can get them caught up before returning to school they will have a much better success rate.

Olga with the kids in small group lessons 
Olga has faces so many difficulties as she tries to push forward in the everchanging political landscape in Kyrgyzstan with an unpopular but needed objective.  As well as the "politics", Just by the very nature of the kids that she is helping, it is impossible to have a balanced budget.  Because of this , the centre has had to move around alot as cheep space comes available .. Olga works diligently to find and apply for any government or NGO grants that are available, but they are few and far between, and when she does get them , they usually come with so many new demands that they use up the time and resources in other ways then the centre is designed for.

We need to provide a stable location for the sake of the kids and their families, and we need to provide a stable income for the sake program, and the teachers that often will go with out pay.
so what are we looking for to maintain this project, pay the rent, taxes, utilities, salaries for the teachers, and supplies, including nutritional snacks for the kids every day ...  we need to find $400 a month total .. either in one time donations or in monthly sponsorships .  
top donor will receive a beautiful Blanket from Aigulla.. (as a side note , All of Aigulla's kids have accessed the resources provided by the knowledge store at some point.)
if a monthly donation is set up, we will calculate the total of 12 months sponsorship for the blanket challenge.

speech therapist working with kids 

Friday, March 07, 2014

Follow up from earlier blanket challenge ..

  A couple weeks ago , the blanket challenge was for medical needs .. two of the men at the mens home were in bad shape and getting worse, They were not expected to pull out of it , but your help came just in time, and they were able to get the help that they needed, and both of them are feeling much better and are up and around again ..   Both Zamira and Murat are special to me , so it is an extra special blessing for me that you guys stepped in to help.. A few weeks from now, I will be with them again made possible by your generosity .. 
Today Tanya writes 
   "Thank you very much.
We can helped made all analyses for Zamira and Murat  and help him  treatment . 
Thanks a lot for opportunity to help Zamira  and Murat we could carry  them to hospital and made many analyses.  We made many analyses - ultrasound of heart, a X-ray and it is a lot of others.  Bought different pills which were appointed by the doctor .Now they  are  drink tablets.  Their health is already much better." 

Zamire looking over his medical files 

John,Julie  thanks a lot for pencils, felt-tip pens, paints and miscellaneous … … … … … .it is very necessary help. We draw much and we paint. Boys so like to  draw. Now we draw not brushes but  fingers  it is very useful for disabled . Murat already visits our lessons of drawing. Today he can came on a wheelchair   and  painted a joyful and warm picture and it was very good  (he was ill 2 months but after treatment all ok thank you very much now we can see his smile ).you so much

Murat is feeling better and back at art class 

Men studying in the library
time in the relaxation room 

Tanya helping the men at art class 

a masterpiece 
 Just a reminder that today is the last day of the Blanket challenge for Jenishes dream of a transition home .  as you can see not much has happened with this.  If you would like to incourage him, now would be a good time ..

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Life from a different perspective.

Can you imagine being happy about school ..I sure can't. but these kids are. With new books, and help with their studies, there is a new excited.   

Maybe they are just happy to have Emma and her friends spend time with them, and if its education that is the excuse, so be it .. but what ever reason. these kids sure are happy now.   

I was just sorting out some old pictures, and came across this Video I was looking for the pictures that are here in the 5 sec. to 10 sec mark .. I wanted to show the option of where many end up living with out help . These are the conditions that Jenish sees every day , and why he is asking for help    Looking after these needs i never a popular one.. at the 5 second mark you will see the typical response.. toss them a little bit of bread every now and then,  but to make a real impact in their lives, we need to do more.. we need to get down into the dirty with them .. If you look at the picture at about 7 seconds in .. you can`t take a picture like that , from that perspective unless we get down into the whole with them ... thats were we see life from a different perspective .. Jenish has been there .. he knows first hand what the solution is .. but what does he do with that ?  he can't do it alone   he needs your help.     I can guarantee if you spent a day with Jenish, you would see the world a little different.     Please consider how you can help, and remember the top donor of the week will get one of Aigula`s blankets 

Monday, March 03, 2014

Update on Telik

On Friday I shared a need .. Glasses for Tilik and a follow up Dr's apointement .. with in hours that need was met, and This morning Tilik went into Bishkek with Emma and Jenish to the Dr. 

He has the new corrective lenses now, and with them he has perfect vision . as well his eyes are strait, so the next surgery will not be necessary.  There is one difficulty.  His brain has never processed information from both eyes at the same time, so it it taking longer to process.  There is a new technology that they have now , there is one of these machines in Bishkek, and it helps to train the brain to blend the images.  He is signed up for this treatment .. It begins on July 25 and will last for 20 treatments, each treatment will last about an hour.  So I guess that will be a summer job for someone .. daily trips to Bishkek with Telik.   Its a ways off so we will have time to figure that out.  Who knows , maybe his eyes will come around on there own in that time .. I think thats what everyone is hoping for .

We are just so blessed that many of you have taken an interest in Telik.. He is such a good kid, and has worked his way into our hearts in a big way.   His spirits are way up now that the main surgery is done, and he sees such an improvement.. but more then that, he sees that he is not alone, and that there is a whole network of people that are in his corner .. something that a young orphan boy is going to need if he is going to make it .. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this .

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