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Gizildash Orphanage
Home for the Blind
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Rest and Labour Home for Young Invalid's
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Community Shield Azerbaijan (Baku)

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 college

Help Needed

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: AZN 250/month/student.

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 rooms

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 laundry room

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 residents themselves.

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 skills.

Computer training in action

Practical Solutions

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 workshop.

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