Aselle Tasmagambetova on the problem of orphanhood in Kazakhstan

I will never forget the day when I first looked into the eyes of orphans. It was in the fall of 2001 in the Almaty orphanage. I go into the box with the newly admitted children. And what I see: two kids. One was jumping in the crib, the other was sitting on the potty. And our eyes met. And it struck me then that one had joy in his eyes, and the other had sadness, the look of an old man. And only later did it become clear that the baby with the eyes of an old man was moving from orphanage to orphanage. And every time someone refuses him.

I shared this story with my family and realized that I could not help but talk about this problem. I realized that our visit cannot be a one-time event. It is impossible to stand aside and pretend that this does not exist. I realized then that indifference kills. But involvement, on the contrary, brings you back to life! Moreover, belonging and happiness are words with the same root. Happy is he who is involved. That's why I became a volunteer, and that's how the story of creating the Saby Foundation began.

In the summer of 2010, having traveled through all regions of our country, we stopped at the most neglected regional orphanage in Kyzylorda. Dilapidated room. Children live in adobe barn-type houses. The heat is 47 degrees, the children are doused with water, and in the infant block there was only one nanny for 20 babies. And she simply did not have enough hands to rock each child and put him to sleep. When the children couldn't sleep, they rocked themselves.

You couldn't just look and leave. It was all shocking. Then I promised myself to build a new modern building. And 2 years later, in 2012, we opened a new building with beautiful grounds, but, most importantly, we introduced psychological rehabilitation for children and organized the largest Montessori center. For two years, specialists from Novosibirsk came and trained teachers. And as a result, all the children were adopted. Now this is no longer an orphanage, but a crisis center for mothers who are left in a difficult life situation.

For me, this is a story about caring, and not only mine, but a large number of people who were involved in this project. And all these years we have been involved in the lives of orphans, making attempts to qualitatively improve their living conditions.

2015, Aktobe, start of construction of the Meyirim Center for Social Adaptation of Youth.

The most difficult category is adult orphans. They are practically not adopted; they are not socially adapted to independent life. They are alone, they have no support. And statistics, unfortunately, show sad figures... The outcome for many is a foregone conclusion.

That is why such a large-scale project as “Meyirim” appeared. Center for graduates of orphanages and orphans. We opened it in 2017. This is not just a complex of apartments. Here they learn to live independently. This is a place for acquiring new valuable skills: there is a sewing workshop, a hairdresser, a carpentry workshop, and a greenhouse for vegetables. Trainings and courses are systematically organized. “Meyirim” is a springboard for adult life. As a result of the work of the Center, all the children stood firmly on their feet, received an education, found work, and found their own families.

I would like as many people as possible to learn about the problem of orphanhood in order to be involved in it! The more people know about this problem, the less indifference there will be. After all, belonging makes us happy. And together we can do more!

 

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