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Community Shield Azerbaijan (Baku)
www.csabaku.org

Mashtaga Psychiatric Hospital

Mashtaga Psychiatric Hospital situated to the north-east of Baku on the Absheron Peninsula, has been a relatively new project for Community Shield Azerbaijan.

We knew about the appalling conditions in the children’s ward in 2006, but realised that to renovate the building totally would be an enormous task requiring substantial financial backing and dedicated volunteer commitment.

Two examples of the old facilities

We started to help by providing new beds and linen thanks to sponsorship from Amec. The beds were constructed at market rates by staff and students at Gizildash College providing them with an opportunity to put their woodworking skills to good use.

Renovation of two children's wards

After researching to establish what level of support might be available from the Baku community, it soon became apparent that a complete overhaul of the building housing the 2 children’s wards would be possible, although the project would be huge by CSA standards.

A campaign was launched and enough money was raised to start the project. CSA’s trusted contractor, Sterling, carried out the renovation to the usual high professional standards and in November 2007 the official opening was attended by most of the sponsors.

Sponsors and CSA volunteers at the opening ceremony

The project was only possible thanks to the large number of sponsors who pledged financial backing. Major sponsors were given the option of sponsoring a specific room.

Some CSA volunteers helped to raise funds by organising special events: Susan Lewis’ tea party, Dawn Quinn’s theme nights and not forgetting the faithful volunteers who organised and manned stalls at bazaars, lunches and coffees to raise money for the cause.

CSA was also fortunate to have one of their Azeri volunteers, Lyama Hartley, as project co-ordinator for the renovation, to make sure that everything ran smoothly.

The magnificent end result was one which reflected a coming together of organisations, companies and individuals, both Expat and Azeri, each of whom contributed in their own way. Collectively, they funded the ward for 16-18 year olds.

All major sponsors of the ward are acknowledged on a plaque mounted on the building.

Plaque showing the sponsors of the adolescent ward

The Anglo Azerbaijani Society was the biggest single contributor to the project, financing the under 16’s ward. They had been looking for a worthy project in memory of their long time committee member Susan Crouch, who passed away early 2006, and it was a moving moment when Susan’s ward was unveiled 20 months later.

Plaque showing ward dedicated to Susan Crouch

Pictures showing the new facilities