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Community Shield Azerbaijan (Baku)
www.csabaku.org

Shelter for Street Children

The Shelter for street children was a project of CSA for years. The privately owned shelter provides support for needy children, both from the street and from the local neighbourhood. CSA provided hot meals and second hand clothes as well as activity sessions.

Weekly arts and crafts sessions were run by CSA volunteers and for many children this opened up a whole new world. Some of the children had basic or no education, and they were delighted when after some determined practice, they learned to write their own names.

The programme was expanded to include sports activities, and both boys and girls were enthusiastic participants, learning to share, take turns and to work together. A donation of computers enabled volunteers to start up a simple teaching programme to enhance the learning experience.

By the end of 2008 and for various reasons including the severe deterioration of the building, CSA made the difficult decision to withdraw from the facility, and it was with great sadness that the volunteers said goodbye to the children who had come to mean so much to them.

Help Needed

CSA continues its commitment to helping disadvantaged children, and any donations of clothes or other items will be passed on to the most needy within the community.

Anita at the shelter

An overview of CSA's Commitment

CSA’s first activity at the Shelter, supported through donations collected by Bobby Stretch, was to provide food supplies over Christmas 2004. Later, the Bhoys of Baku financed the shelter meals for some years. CSA also received an unusual donation: 15 pairs of England-match-worn socks from the 2002 football world cup. Chris and Ran Gotch donated these socks so they could be auctioned to raise funds for the shelter.

A number of renovations and improvements at the centre have taken place, thanks to the support of Rob Cole, Bobby Stretch, CDC and also to Katie and Roslyn who donated a washing machine by asking their friends for money rather than presents for their birthdays.

Children from the shelter taking part in a local football tournament

Weekly arts and crafts sessions were introduced by CSA volunteers, showing the children handicraft activities they had never done before. Sports activities quickly became popular and CSA volunteers have been very innovative in devising games to play, both indoors and out. The volunteers have been successful in encouraging girls to participate in the sports activities which is unusual in Azerbaijani society. Donations from TISA, Children’s Yoga Club and Baku Bicycle Club enabled the volunteers to expand the games programme.

Teams from the innovative broom game!

Playing football, as with boys everywhere else, is very popular and BP drivers offered their coaching services for free for a couple of years. Football kits were kindly donated by BP and Amec and a match with TISA school was organised. Playing on the school’s real grass pitch was a first for these children.

Street children's game against TISA