Happy Birthday to us – 20 years!

A big birthday doesn’t come around very often, but when it does you need to mark it well, with a big celebration planned down to the smallest detail. In September, Salem Social Village, or rather our registered organisation, Salem Union, marked the 20th anniversary of charitable activities in Shymkent. And it was a fitting celebration of this significant mark!


On 7th Septmber, Salem Social Village welcomed many friends, partners and people who care about the charitable activities that we do. It was a great chance to get together to remember all that has been done over many years – not only in the name of Salem Social Village, but also over a long period by Crossroads, Interlink and before that Equip Trust.


As well as the usual speeches, interviews and best wishes that are required for any celebration here, though all done in a very informal manner, there was also a set of messages from around the world which we really appreciated – you might have to brush up on your knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet to work out where they’re all from!

Thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers, our guests had a warm welcome, as well as lunch of the local favourite plov, cooked outside in a 500 litre pan. The informal setting in the fresh air with good tasty national dishes to enjoy certainly put everyone in a good mood!


The young local activist and partner of Salem, Alexander Vodolatski, one of our guests at the event, said, “I’ve been doing charitable activities for just a few years, and I’ve already had plenty experience of the successes and the challenges involved. I can imagine how much has been battled through for you over a period of 20 years!”


There was also a talk show, musical entertainment, an innovative four-storey chocolate birthday cake, a dancing flashmob and a whole lot of photos!


We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been involved in working in or supporting all that has been done here since the organisation was officially registered in 1996, whether locals or foreigners. We don’t have a record of everyone who has played a part in our history, but we do want to say thank you. If you’ve been involved with us in any way over the last 20 years, we’d love to hear from you – please get in touch with us at news@salemunion.kz.