Vladislava: Tell me about your student life.
Jengish: My student life was like everyone's. We rode trolleys, we were starving... sometimes. We didn't pay the electricity bills on time and so they turned it off. Just like everyone. I sat at the internet cafes a lot and wasted the time away making computer programs with my friend. Later I started to go to the Greenhouse and studied English. Alongside of that, I started to help volunteers. We went to orphanages and out on the streets to help the homeless people.
Vladislava: What kind of help did you give to the homeless?
Jengish: We went to them and fed them, distributed clothing because they don't have a place to wash their clothes are very dirty, we gave them underwear. Sometimes if they had serious problems with their health we took them to the hospital and paid for an operation.
Vladislava: How old were you when you began doing this?
Jengish: I think 23 or 22.
Vladislava: How did this experience change the course of your life?
Jengish: I thought when I would finish university I would work to make a lot of money. I never thought that I would become a volunteer and help the homeless. My lifesyle changed in a way that I started helping the homeless more and more. And now I began working with the Canadians in their orphanages and other humanitarian organizations.
Vladislava: Who did you want to become?
Jengish: I wanted to be a computer programmist and move to India or America and work for Microsoft or Google as a programmist.
Vladislava: Interesting, and what do you do now?
Jengish: I'm a director of a social association, also I'm an administrator in one organization and I also help out a Canadian organization. I translate and organize meetings for them. I drive them.
Vladislava: What does your organization do that you currently work with?
Jengish: We help alcoholics and drug addicts. We don't just putting them in detention, but we also take them in and give them the opportunity to get away from their surroundings and away from their friends which drink alcohol and use drugs. We offer them training on computers, they study English, there is a person who comes and consults with them every week. They meet with this consultant who helps them to set goals for 3 months, 6 months and yearly. And helps them to achieve the goals. If there was a problem with their families, wives - to write letters to them. This begins building a bridge between their families. We teach them business and how to make a family budget Some of these things which can help him to lead a normal life once he leaves the program. And not to just be free from the addiction to alcohol and drugs but also he would have the skills that will help in the future. When a person leaves the program they don't just simply leave at the end. We help them after by contacting them and asking how they are doing. And they can contact the consultant and ask questions.
Vladislava: Do you have someone who overcame their addiction, who achieved something?
Jengish: I think in this time in Kyrgyzstan we are getting better results in overcoming addictions. Because our program has existed many years and our workers have practice and most of our workers are ex-addicts, from prisons and jails so they understand alcoholics and drug addicts better what they went through and they are able to help them.
Vladislava: Among the youth, are there a lot of drug addicts?
Jengish: Yes, because drugs are cheaper now. They get them from Tajikistan, Afghanistan. More and more people are using Heroin.
Vladislava: So most of them are using that?
Jengish: Well sometimes we have young people, sometimes not. We have people as young as 17 and 18 and others who are into their 60's.
Vladislava: Do you have more men, women?
Jengish: Right now we only have a rehab center for men but we want to open the women's center in the winter.
Vladislava: Do you like the work you are doing?
Jengish: Yes, I'm helping people and because I am the director I have to do all the work there. I don't have much paperwork. I'm not sitting in the office all the time. I have meetings, I help people. We also started some other projects and I want these projects to develop so we can start to earn money so we wouldn't need to ask for money from the investors and sponsors. And then we could be the sponsors for someone... we could help orphanages, retirement homes.
Vladislava: Would you change anything if you had the opportunity to go back in time?
Jengish: No, I wouldn't.
Vladislava: What are you striving for or is it enough what you've already achieved or do you want to learn something more?
Jengish: You should always strive for something, if a person is satisfied with what he has already achieved, he stops growing and he starts dying. We always have new goals, new projects. And even the things we have now we are trying to improve them. We are trying to learn some new technology.
Vladislava: The last question I have that I am interested in, is there anything you can say to the young people that is the most important thing in achieving goals?
Jengish: Like Winston Churchill said, "Never never never give up."
Jyldyz began volunteering at orphanages in October 2011. She is now the SoS Orphans Project Leader. Read More >
"I don't have any siblings, so I want to give the children my love, holding them, playing with them. Also, it had always been my dream to go to an orphanage, the dream that came true." Read More >
Seek peace and pursue it
Salam is Peace. At the core of peace is respect.
We believe that Salam can grow in Kyrgyzstan through its youth using their talents to benefit not only themselves but to benefit the community through volunteerism.