Rotarians Give to Improve the Lives of Children

Kazakhstan is geographically the ninth largest country in the world. It was the last former Soviet republic to declare independence after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The history of this vast country dates all the way back to Gangas Khan when it was a part of the Mongolian Empire. In modern times, however, it also a country fraught with human rights abuses according to the independent Human Rights Watch. The political situation in the country is often hardest on children who grow up in orphanages facing some of the most difficult circumstances in Central Asia.

The Karakastek Project is a story that provides a shining example of how Rotarians give for peace by improving the lives of people around the world who have no opportunity to improve their own conditions, especially small children at an orphanage in the village of Karakestek. One Rotarian adopted a child from the region and returned to her Rotary club determined to make a difference for children in the orphanage who have nothing.

The Rotary Club of Almaty teamed with the Rotary Club of Northbrook and the Rotary Club of Deerfield (USA) to obtain Rotary matching grants that provided much-needed supplies for small children who lived in the orphanage at Karakastek. Rotarians gave to the project because they recognized Rotary was the only hope to better the living conditions of these children. Their kindness and generosity provided optimism for the children and shows how positive peace is advanced when Rotarians give to relieve the suffering of innocents in communities around the world.

The list of needed supplies was diverse and included not only needed items for children, such as toys, clothes, books, diapers, bed furnishings, and mattresses but durable goods that are essential for everyday life including vacuum cleaners. Every item was chosen to enhance living standards at the orphanage.

Rotarians in these clubs put the Rotary International matching grants to good use. Altmaty club members were assigned items for the Karakastek orphanage and told to find them “at the best possible price.” Rotarians in the club even lobbied commercial interests to become involved in the project and secured many of the supplies for a discount of up to 60%. Their stewardship of the RI matching grants led to the purchase of quality durable items that will serve the orphanage for many years.

Rotarians gave the orphanage a water pump so the children could enjoy running water. They provided freezers to preserve food. Rotarians also donated 30 tons of heating fuel to keep the children warm in this cold Central Asian climate. The industrial vacuums ensure that the orphanage can provide a safe, clean environment for young children who can not fend for themselves.

The project shows that Rotarian projects both large and small impact lives and promote peace by giving voice to the voiceless. Rotarians advocated for these children and expanded the care for them in this remote place. This intervention builds peace because it relieved the suffering of children surrounded by conflict, who had no available means to improve their own living standards. It presents one of the most inspiring examples of how Rotarians give for peace when they answer the call for service, wherever it is needed in our world. Read the story.

Watch the Inspiring Karakastek Project Video