February 16, 2003 - Project Smile: Kazakhstan PCVs work in Project Smile

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kazakstan : Peace Corps Kazakhstan : The Peace Corps in Kazakstan: February 16, 2003 - Project Smile: Kazakhstan PCVs work in Project Smile

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 5:52 pm: Edit Post

Kazakhstan PCVs work in Project Smile

Kazakhstan PCVs work in Project Smile

Dana is a US Peace Corps Volunteer who serves in the Economic Development Program in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. Her primary project involves teaching Economics and English courses at the Eastern Humanitarian Institute. Dana created Project Smile as one of her secondary projects in cooperation with the directors of the orphanages in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Currently, Dana is working as the Project Coordinator. She will continue to do so until she completes her service in June of 2001.

Jenny is an Ecology Volunteer working with Peace Corps in Ust-Kamenogorsk. She is originally from New Meadows, Idaho. Jenny’s primary project involves teaching ecology to students in the 2nd through 5th grades. Her secondary project is working with Project Smile. Currently, Jenny is working with the House of Hope. She is the contact person for all inquires regarding children from this orphanage. In addition to managing our sponsorship program for this orphanage, Jenny also runs an English club at the House of Hope. Jenny plans to train the director of the House of Hope over the next several months so that they may maintain the project after she finishes her service in Kazakhstan.

Megan is the most recent addition to the Project Smile team. She arrived in Ust-Kamenogorsk on Christmas Eve 2000. Megan graduated from Oneonta State College with a degree in Dietetics. Her primary project as a Peace Corps Public Health Volunteer is at the East Kazakhstan Oblast Center of Valeology. Megan also works with Project Smile as her secondary project. Managing the sponsorship program for the Ust Government House is her main focus. Like Jenny, Megan plans to train the orphanage staff so they will be able to continue the project after she leaves.

Ruth is a Peace Corps Volunteer working with the Environment Program. Her primary project in Ust-Kamenogorsk is with a Non-Government Organization (NGO) known as “Belivodi.” This NGO specializes in projects that promote the protection of the environment in Eastern Kazakhstan. In her free time, Ruth helps out with many aspects of Project Smile. In addition to spending time with the kids and helping with our English Club, she has established contacts in America that have contributed to the project.

Yulia is a Kazakhstani university student living in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Before entering the university, Yulia spent one year of her high school career studying in America through the FSA/FLEX Program sponsored by the USG Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Currently, she is pursuing an English degree with one year remaining before graduation. Yulia volunteered as a translator and advisor for Project Smile during its first year of operation.

Michelle is a student at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a senior majoring in Communications. Acting as our State-Side Coordinator during our first year, she assisted the project by giving speeches and sending out press releases. Michelle contributed significantly to our efforts to get the word out about the project.

Kyoung Dong was a KOICA volunteer who completed two years of service in Ust-Kamenogorsk in August of 2000. The majority of Kyoung Dong’s work focused on teaching Tae Kwon Do and the Korean language. He also spent some time working with a local Korean Cultural Center. Kyoung Dong contributed to Project Smile by spending time with the kids and by helping us to spread the word about our project. In January of 2000, he secured a significant amount of medical supplies for the clinic at one of the orphanages. He also helped out by locating a computer programmer to contribute to the creation of our web site.

Jong Hyok - a.k.a. Wings... of Icarus - was also a KOICA volunteer who served in Kazakhstan. Specifically, he spent his time volunteering as a computer programmer in Almaty, the former capital of the country. He and Dana designed the web site together in the summer of 2000. Jong Hyuk finished his two years of service in Kazakhstan in August of 2000.

his page was created to give you an idea of where we've been, where we are now, and where we're headed in the future. Take a look!


* Met with director of the government orphanage, Valentina Papova, to discuss the creation of Project Smile and the inclusion of her orphanage and gained her support.
* Attended a United States Peace Corps sponsored conference on "Project Management and Design" to help organize our ideas for Project Smile.
* Sent out an email description of the project to potential sponsors.


* Started taking pictures of the first group of orphans and collecting their personal information.
* Created a Project Smile newsletter to distribute to potential sponsors.
* Discussed the possibility of turning Project Smile into a national project with interested parties.


* Explored resources by meeting with program personnel of organizations including: US Department of Defense - Kazakhstan Community Outreach Program and Counterpart Humanitarian Assistance Program and providing them with newsletters on Project Smile.
* Introduced Project Smile to the wife of the United States Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Mrs. Joan Jones, and gained her support.
* Received a donation of medical supplies for the clinic at the government orphanage from a doctor who is serving as a KOICA volunteer in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
* Distributed a hard copy of the Project Smile newsletter to potential sponsors in America.
* Became aware of group sponsors in Indiana and their ongoing efforts to raise funds to support our effort.


* Started to request information on materials and prices for the indoor play areas from companies via the internet.
* Explored other alternatives for carrying out the Sponsorship Program.

MARCH 2000:

* Received stuffed animals from group sponsors in America.
* Discussed the possibility of receiving medical aid for the government orphanage clinic with Red Cross / Crescent representatives.
* Interviewed with a local Kazakhstani media station, explained Project Smile, and used the opportunity to appeal to the public for local assistance.
* Met with Dr. Gavin Helf, IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) Regional Director, to discuss our newsletter and possible collaboration with IREX.
* Met with the Kazakhstan based US Embassy Marine Officer in charge of the program "Toys for Tots" to discuss a potential distribution to our orphanage.
* Joined an organization known as KONTAKT which focuses on promoting "Youth in Development in Kazakhstan" and planned a national logo contest while attending a conference put on by this group.

APRIL 2000:

* Received toys from American sponsors.
* Started planning and taking pictures for the Project Smile web site.

MAY 2000:

* Became aware of two additional group sponsors located in San Antonio and Houston, Texas and their ongoing efforts to raise funds to buy toys for Project Smile.
* Updated Mrs. Jones on our progress.

JUNE 2000:

* Received toys from American sponsors.
* Met again with Jim Benson, the Kazakhstan Country Director of Counterpart Humanitarian Assistance Program, to discuss the possibility of a free container shipment from the US to Kazakhstan for toys and indoor play area equipment.
* Started construction of the Project Smile web site in cooperation with IREX and a KOICA computer programmer, Jong Hyok - a.k.a. Wings... of Icarus -
* Met with Maira Bymukanovna, the director at the House of Hope Orphanage, and agreed to work together.
* Received a visit at the orphanages from Pilar Robledo, IREX Community Connections Program Coordinator, and with her assistance, took digital pictures of about half of the children for the web site.
* Became aware of Roncalli High School Honor Society and their efforts to help the project by gathering toys for the orphanage.

JULY 2000:

* Continued to work on the construction of the web site.
* Gained support and advice from the Mrs. Jones regarding the container shipment from the US to Kazakhstan for toys and indoor play area equipment.
* Informed the children at the orphanages about the KONTAKT logo competition and collected their entries.
* Obtained shipping and pricing information on the play equipment we're interested in acquiring for the orphanages.
* Met with Mr. James Gershin, the Central Asian Regional Director of Counterpart Humanitarian Assistance Program, to discuss logistical and financial issues surrounding the container shipment.

AUGUST 2000:

* Completed and submitted the grant proposal necessary to apply for funding to buy indoor play area equipment for the orphanages.
* Finished the web site.
* Attended another conference put on by KONTAKT, the organization which focuses on promoting "Youth in Development in Kazakhstan" and turned in entries for the logo completion.
* Received a large toy donation from Roncalli High School


* Launched the web site.
* Initiated an advertising blitz to attract sponsors.
* Designed an inventory system to account for items received.
* Delivered the toy donation from Roncalli High School to the orphanages
* Began translating the web site into Russian
* Gained about 20 additional sponsors through the web site


* Received "care pakages" and delivered them to the orphanages.
* Obtained a digital camera.
* Started an Emglish Club with 40 of the older children at the House of Hope.
* Requested and received Letters of Support for the container shipment from Congressman James Greenwood, Mrs. Jones and Mr. Wylie Williams (US Peace Corps Director - Kazakhstan) and submitted them to the US State Department.
* Gained approximately 20 additional sponsors through the web site.


* Received "care packages" and delivered them to the orphanages.
* Gained an additional 15 sponsors through the web site.
* Obtained grant approval and funding for the indoor play area equipment
* Continued working on the English Club at the House of Hope
* Designed and implemented various informational databases used to maintain the sponsorship project


* Gained 25 additional sponsors through the web site.
* Added 45 new orphans to the web site.
* Received "care packages" and delivered them to the orphanages.
* Took part in holiday celebrations with the children.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Kazakhstan; Special Interests - Orphans



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