The Past Creates The Present
Kazakhstan, became an independent country after the downfall of the Soviet Union and much like Russia, has been plagued by alcohol abuse and the subsequent societal problems ever since. While there are detoxification centres to treat the physical effects of alcoholism, on-going care is missing which means almost certain relapse for most people.
Hada Astana seeks to fill this gap in breaking addictions and keeping people sober by giving long-term attention to the psychological, social and emotional issues involved.
While Astana, which became the capital city in 1998, is rapidly developing into a modern governmental centre, the original inhabitants of the city find it difficult to cope. Much of the traditional industry has closed down and many of the new jobs available in government and associated activities are taken by skilled people arriving from other cities with “contacts.” Employment is growing, but only in selected, qualified industries and with it the cost of living rises too, with considerable suffering for families.
Happenings at the Community Centre
Since the Centre is a place to gain employable skills and life skills for young adults, couples and parents, there are many different kinds of activities that take place here.
Mums & Toddlers:
Tirzah writes: “We had a smaller group this past year, but some good friendships were established and some really interesting conversations were had. There were some very open discussions about child discipline – the husband’s role in that, and the husband/wife roles in general.
For many it is taken for granted that their husband will cheat on them, consistently. Most do not see their spouse as their friend, teammate or someone to truly have a relationship with, but instead as simply the source of money for food and housing. The wife is in charge of all the rest and the husband may live a life of self-interest. So many women are hurting and hiding behind fear and lies. We are hoping this club will continue to be a place for women to find friendships and encouragement.”
When the Mothers and Toddlers Club restarted in September, we had a mostly Russian- speaking group, which was difficult for Tirzah, who is a Kazakh speaker. However, in the past 3 weeks, a couple of new Kazakh-speaking mothers have come, making it easier for conversations with less translation being necessary.
Kazakh Language Club
Our new Kazakh Language Club has started up to help the predominantly Russian-speaking ethnic Kazakhs, who are becoming increasingly marginalized because they do not speak Kazakh, to learn that language.
We started two months ago and although the turnout has been very low, we continue to receive positive responses when we tell people about the club, so we are hoping to see it pick up a bit within the next couple of months.