More than 600 sponsors throughout the world are sponsoring elderly people in the Kyrgyz Republic through Babushka Adoption Foundation today. Once people get involved, they have great things to say about the adoption programme. Here are just a few of those thoughts.
Our eyes are open now for elderly people in a country far away: It is Kyrgyzstan
Kay Henriksen & Inger Larsen
“In the beginning of 2006 we read an article published in a Danish magazine called “Aeldresagen" about vulnerable elderly people in Kyrgyzstan and Babushka Adoption Foundation that help interested sponsors to support those elderly people. We contacted Babushka Adoption Foundation immediately and asked for a babushka that would like to receive letters from us and who would be able to reply and tell us about her life in a country far away from Denmark.
Believe me we were so excited when we got her biography and photo. Staff members of Babushka Adoption Foundation offered us to translate our letters from English into Russian so that we can get in contact with her and obtain more information about her life and her country
In our country, Denmark, it would be possible for almost everyone to help these vulnerable needy people in Kyrgyzstan for EURO150 a year. One can not imagine how urgently this money is needed by those people and how much encouragement and hope you can give by sending a parcel to your babushka. It is also a very rewarding experience for you to support these old people. We are lucky that we live in a country where we get our pension regularly and can manage our daily life.
We can imagine that some people may worry that the money they transfer to Babushka Adoption Foundation is not used for the right purpose. Please don’t worry, Babushka Adoption Foundation is a very trustworthy and reliable organization and all money is spent for the right purpose. As all staff member do a great and valuable job, we do not mind paying EURO 30 a year for the running costs of the organization so that they can pay their salaries and cover programme expenses.
We are very happy that some of our friends also decided to become sponsors and find out that sponsorship is a good way to help. We hope that Babushka Adoption Foundation can continue helping elderly people in Kyrgyzstan in the future. Our deepest respect and full admiration for this valuable work to all staff members. We are very satisfied.”
Visiting my three babushkas – a very touching moment
“As a sponsor of three babushkas, I can tell you that I am very satisfied with the work Babushka Adoption Foundation is doing. In 2005 I visited my three babushkas in Kyrgyzstan and staff members of Babushka Adoption Foundation were very helpful in arranging everything related to my visit. They provided translation so that I could speak with my babushkas. The visit had been a very emotional and touching moment for me. My babushkas could not believe that there is such a generous person who comes from Europe to meet with them!
After my visit I did some sightseeing in Bishkek and travelled to the wonderful lake Issyk-Kul with the help of the staff members of Babushka Adoption Foundation. Kyrgyzstan has such beautiful nature.
Again, dear Babushka Adoption Team, thank you so much for this once-in a life experience. I can tell you firsthand that Babushka Adoption Foundation is making a real difference in the lives of these vulnerable elderly people. ”
Manas Airbase in Kyrgyzstan is sponsoring 18 babushkas
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan
“The Manas Air Base Outreach Society (MABOS) in Kyrgyzstan has had the privilege of sponsoring 18 Babushkas. We have met with the Babushkas for lunch and provided them toiletry items, clothing and blankets. All of these items have been donated by the Airmen at Manas Air Base and their families. We have been greatly blessed by having the opportunity to meet with the Babushkas, share meals, and learn more about each other. ”
I worked with Babushka Adoption
I found out about Babushka Adoption in 2006 and I have happily supported the work of this organisation since then. Babushka Adoption offers you a unique opportunity to support elderly people in Kyrgyzstan. These vulnerable elderly people have no family networks to look after them and they try to live on a very small pension. Babushka Adoption not only helps them financially, but also through various social services. In 2006-2007 I worked with this organisation as a consultant and I very much enjoyed working with such a highly motivated and creative team of people. The team at Babushka Adoption are very committed to their work and I am convinced that they will develop this organisation into one of the best NGO's in Kyrgyzstan. It is well worth spending 150 Euros a year to support Babushka Adoption and the wonderful work they do to help the elderly of Kyrgyzstan.
A Day at Babushka Adoption Foundation
“I have been given the opportunity to accompany BA staff members for one day, to see how they work and to meet the babushkas and dedushkas themselves. Early in the morning, we drive to one of the meeting points, where they distribute the money to those babushkas and dedushkas that are still healthy enough to walk. The first snow had fallen the day before, and the roads in the suburbs are even worse than usual. Babushka Adoption Foundation owns a car, but for those occasions, a four-wheel jeep would probably be more suitable: There are holes everywhere in the roads, and because they fill up with water, it’s difficult to judge how deep they really are.
We reach the first meeting point. There are many elderly people already waiting for us, almost all of them babushkas, wearing the colourful headscarves so popular among elderly women. They line up, show their passports, some of them still wrapped in the old Soviet cover, and their Babushka Adoption card, sign their name and receive their 800 SOM for the next two months. Again and again we hear them thanking and blessing us for those 20 US$.
Azaliya Djamankulova: postcards from Southern Switzerland
Somewhere in the line is Azaliya Djamankulova. She shows us the letter she received from Switzerland, written in English, and we have to translate it to her again and again. She also shows us the postcards that were included in the letter, showing a lake in Southern Switzerland. Like many people here, Azaliya didn’t have an easy life: Her father died in the war and she grew up in an orphanage. Her son has passed away also, and she had to make a living on a pension of 650 SOM (16US$).
Our next meeting point is less spacious than the first, and the babushkas and dedushkas are standing in a line that crowds the whole corridor. There we meet a small, wiry woman with attentive eyes: Vera Wolf
Vera Wolf: A babushka who helps other babushkas
She looks healthy and quite agile. But that wasn’t always the case. “About a year ago, I felt very bad, and Babushka Adoption offered to pay for an operation. But then a German doctor gave me medicine that is not usually available here, and within one week, I felt much better.”
And because she still feels very well, even though she isn’t able to find the medicine here in Kyrgyzstan anymore, she decided to help other people. She is given much more than the 800 SOM – but the additional money is not for her, it’s for other babushkas.
“They all live more or less on my way home,” she explains. “They are often very ill or old and walk on sticks, if they are able to walk at all, and therefore cannot come to the meeting place. The people from Babushka Adoption Foundation are already so busy, and those babushkas often need a long time to even go to the door and open it, so I help distributing the money.” Sometimes, she even does their shopping.
In the afternoon, Gulja, one of the social workers at Babushka Adoption Foundation, takes me along to visit some of the babushkas that are unable to leave home.
Klara Shastlivova: Apples for Babushka Adoption
No other babushka is as excited about our arrival as Klara. Barely dressed in her nightgown, she runs out to the balcony to get us some apples and insists that we take them with us. She won’t stop thanking us and calls God’s blessing upon us. We then have to write down the name of her sponsor in Cyrillic, so that she can send them a thank you letter.
Gulya sighs when we are back in the car. She is not a stranger to such scenes. She has been working for Babushka Adoption for three years, and before that, she worked with elderly people for the government. It’s not an easy job. “Often I come home very late, and even then I cannot really leave work behind. I cannot simply forget what I see here”.
It is almost six o’clock when we return to the office, it’s getting dark and we are all tired. Snow is falling and the temperature is again below freezing. But the thought that we might have brought a bit of joy to those elderly people and helped them survive the cold and dark winter somehow keeps me warm. ”