Gizildash College and Orphanage
Gizildash is a small town to the
south-west of Baku, known for its limestone quarries (Gizildaş is the Azeri for
"Golden Stone") and has a college for students up to the age of 18. Attached to
the college is accommodation shared between 50 orphans aged 16-20 and refugee
families from the Armenian war.
The orphanage at Gizildash
The main aim of the college is to
provide vocational training to its students.
The vocational skills the college offers are depicted on a billboard in the
college grounds, showing people engaged as woodworkers, hairdressers, and in a
variety of other occupations.
The range of vocations offered at Gizildash
1. English Teaching
Once a week, a group of CSA volunteers teach English to the youngsters. In
today’s developing Azerbaijan, having English language skills will be a huge
advantage in the search for employment. We have been joined by the Azerbaijan
English Teachers Association, AzETA, with support from the British Council in
Azerbaijan (books and other educational material) and BP (transport)
who also run English language lessons at the college.
The more volunteers we have, the
more children can be taught, so please contact us if you can spare some time.
The lessons are taught through role-play and are fun for both teachers and
pupils. Teaching experience is not necessary.
2. Education Fund
In October 2007 CSA, together with AzETA, launched an education fund for Alex
and Elvin, two orphans who wish to continue their education at university. Cost:
3. Other activities
If you think you can help any of the Gizildash youngsters by teaching cookery,
arts, provide guidance for a gardening project or organise sports sessions,
please contact us.
When possible, outings are organised
for these underprivileged youngsters such as an educational trip to BP’s
Caspian Energy Centre or complimentary meals at the Old Mill Café.
Renovation of toilet and shower
Our first projects at Gizildash
targeted the sanitary facilities of the orphanage which were amongst some of the
worst that we have witnessed in Azerbaijan.
In 2004 and thanks to donations from
BOS Şelf, BP Sunbury, which held a Christmas raffle which raised almost
£1500, and the Irish Society, and building work by Rovshan Oguz,
all of the toilets and shower rooms in the building were refurbished, a
kitchen/living area was created for orphaned girls and boys, and uPVC windows
were installed to replace crumbling old wooden frames that had no glass in them.
Finally, the roof of the orphanage
was weatherproofed, to keep out the rain that was previously leaking through the
ceilings, causing plaster and cement to peel away.
Toilet and shower rooms - before and after
During the renovation work at
Gizildash, the builders and craftsmen involved highlighted the perilous state of
the electrical wiring throughout the orphanage. The re-wiring
project was a substantial one, made possible by donations from the Wee
Helping Hands Club, CCIC and from Rovshan Oguz, who also
performed the work itself. The benefits realised are obvious – safe, modern
wiring and junction boxes and efficient modern lighting.
Electrical wiring - before and after
The completion was marked by a
party, thrown for the orphans by Rovshan Oguz and BOS Şelf, which
coincided with the Azerbaijan festival of Novruz Bayram. The party, complete
with food, dancing to a 3-piece band, and presents for the orphans, proved a
fitting way to mark this point in a highly rewarding project.
Bedrooms, recreation room and
Rapid Solutions renovated
several bedrooms and donated heaters. Renovation of other bedrooms was paid for
by Baku Bicycle Club. Amec donated beds and mattresses and paid
for the renovation of the recreation room. BOS Şelf paid for new bed
linen and BP’s ELT team raised money to buy more heaters. Sterling
created a laundry room and Wellington Heights donated a much needed
washing machine. Dave Walls gave away a huge exercise machine.
The new facilities are now in use,
and have made a marked difference to the lives of the residents. All sponsors
are acknowledged on the plaque in Gizildash.
Plaque showing the Gizildash sponsors
Decorating and Window Replacement
PCH, the painting and
scaffolding contractor used by BOS Şelf, carried out the decorating works
in the orphanage. Moreover, to directly support Gizildash College's objectives
as a vocational training centre, they provided training in painting and
decorating for six teenagers.
PCH painters with the Gizildash trainees
A group of expat teenagers spent
some of their summer holidays sprucing up the boarding house together with the
The youth painting team
Further vocational help finally
arrived in a project to replace the windows at the orphanage, many of which were
boarded up. The carpentry department of the college built wooden frames for the
orphanage windows, thanks to David Blatchford’s donation, and glass for
the windows was supplied by BOS Şelf.
CSA volunteers ran an agriculture
project, teaching the teenagers new skills and supplementing their diet.
Sterling donated 60 fruit trees and Mrs. Cynthia Hensman, an
enthusiastic gardening volunteer, gave a donation to buy spades, a rake and
wheelbarrow. Adra donated a huge supply of trees.
BP's HSE group planted 30
pine trees in the area, as part of their initiative to turn Azerbaijan green,
and AA Services installed fencing around the gardening area to prevent
grazing cows and chickens from entering the fruit and vegetable patches.
Sangachel terminal donated water tanks.
The first harvest of produce from
this project was successful, with Mr Arnoud Govaert of AA Services having
the pleasure of cutting the first lettuce.
This project urgently needs
volunteers who like to have a “hands on” approach.
The first harvest at Gizildash orphanage
Moving into world of employment
CSA found jobs for 8 Gizildash
youngsters who now live an independent life. Computers were donated by BOS
Şelf and Hess and these are being put to good use to help employment
Computer training in action
To give the carpentry workshop practical experience while earning some income at
the same time, CSA had dozens of beds made for their other projects such as
Shuvelan Sanatorium and
Mashtaga Psychiatric hospital. CSA also secured orders from International
Women's Club to have beds made for their projects, and PAWS, the
animal welfare organisation in Baku, had their cat cages made in the wood
In 2005, BP donated and
installed 2 saw dust heaters which use the saw dust from the wood workshop that
would otherwise go to waste. The heaters are installed in the recreation rooms
which previously could hardly be used in winter.
Saw dust heaters in use