The 1st residential external group (in Kyrgyzstan!) was opened in spring 2017 in the city of Belovodsk, about 8 kilometers away from the Social Village Manas. Here, residents who have developed well, live relatively independently, in a kind of residential community together. A beautiful vegetable garden for self-sufficiency was established and a place of work for the residents was created on the associated property.
The residents are responsible for everyday tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, and are supported by an employee. Besides working in the garden, the residents mainly produce dairy products and pastries for the small store in Bishkek, which was opened in 2022.
You can find more pictures from the group here.
Alina, like so many residents of the Social Village, was left behind in the hospital after birth and lived in various institutions in the following years.
In August 2018 she came to the Social Village and settled in very quickly. She is very good at sewing and attended a course at the Lyceum in 2019/20 to develop these skills. She enjoys helping in the kitchen just as much.
She loves parties and performances where she can dress nicely, sing and dance.
Since early summer 2022, she has been living in the outhouse group and works in milk processing, but she can also make bread dough independently. She is always cheerful and makes jokes with her fellow residents.
Tatina has been living in the social village since 2020, in the external residential group since early summer 2022, and during this time has developed from a quiet resident into an independent young woman. She can independently bake bread for everyday use and is learning all the steps to make baked goods for sale in the store. In doing so, she works quickly and skillfully. She feels very good in the external residential group with its friendly residents.
Meerim was abandoned as a baby, but was taken in by the man who found her and his family, although they themselves were very poor. Therefore, when she was six years old, they took Meerim to the state children’s home. They visited her there often. At some point, however, they stayed away and no one knew where they were or if they were still alive. Also because Meerim was taken to a new children’s home, she had no contact with this foster family for a very long time. In the children’s home in the small town of Belovodsk, not far from Murake, the village where the Social Village Manas is, Meerim was for at least 10 years.
She has been living in the Social Village Manas for 13 years now and feels very comfortable. She never wants to leave. When a newspaper published her story, her former foster parents saw this report and came to the Social Village Manas. They even asked her if she didn’t want to move back in with them. But Meerim very much wants to stay in her new home, the Social Village Manas. She feels she is doing something meaningful here by contributing to the community.
Since the early summer of 2022, she has been living in the outdoor living group and has settled in very well. She feels responsible for the other residents, makes sure that everyone does their chores and works in the dairy. In the evenings, she calls the other residents over to practice the songs for the next party together.
Nastja lived with her grandmother until she was 3 years old because her parents died and then she came to the children’s home. Like many other residents, she completed a reduced cooking training and a manicure training at the Lyceum.
In the winter of 2020 she came to the Social Village and in the summer of 2022 she moved to the external living group. In the Social Village she met her boyfriend Ruslan.
Meanwhile, she likes it much better in the external living group than in the Social Village. She enjoys working outside on the grounds and can heat the house independently. Together with the other residents of the external living group, she takes care of the large garden. In the past, she didn’t like working in the house, but now she works in the bakery with confidence and agility.
Urmat has spent his entire life in various homes, as his parents went away from him after he was born. It was not easy for him to arrive at the Social Village. Since the end of 2022, he has been living in the external residential group and assisting the women with heavy work. He carries coal and milk, helps with heating and with work on the grounds. As the newest resident and the only male person in the external residential group he is still a bit insecure and needs time and support to feel like he really belongs.
Beschka spent his childhood in various homes. He wants a family, talks and writes a lot about them. His (so-called) mother lives in Moscow, he met with her in 2016.
When he came to the Social Village in spring 2017, he moved directly to the external residential group. He is a fun-loving character and doesn’t mince words. His outspoken nature brightens things up, but has also maneuvered him into dicey situations. But he doesn’t let that dampen his spirits.
He completed a short training course as a cook and worked regularly as a kitchen assistant in a café in Belovodsk. In the external residential group, he had his tasks in all areas of work, but was mainly active in the kitchen and the laundry room. For his future he foresees a complete training as a cook or confectioner. He would like to earn his living with it and one day move into his own little house, he said calmly. He is not stressing about it.
In the meantime, Beschka lives and works in Bishkek.
In 2017, the first seminar on the topic of milk processing took place in the external living group. A few residents, staff and volunteers learned how to make milk products. More seminars were held until the fall of 2022 so that new residents and staff could learn how to make them. Before the opening of the store in Bishkek, the products were only produced on a small scale and sold sporadically in a store in Belovodsk.
Since the fall of 2022, Altynbek has been bringing fresh milk from the cows in the Social Village to Belovodsk every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, where it is processed by the residents of the external
residential group in their own dairy cows. Especially Meerim, Urmat and Alina, with the support of Nazgul, produce milk of different fat grades, ayran, sour cream and cottage cheese. The finished products are delivered to the store in Bishkek. There, the sale of the dairy products goes very well, often the products are sold out quickly. Buyers come to the store again and again and even reserve goods for themselves. This is one of the reasons why the dairy kitchen is to be renovated and tiled.
Since the summer of 2021, baked goods have been produced in the external residential group. For this purpose, there were several seminars for residents and staff. Since the opening of the store, the products have been brought to Bishkek several times a week and offered for sale there. The selection includes chocolate and sesame cookies, baklava, cookies, milk rolls, baguettes and carrot bread. Tatina and Nastja in particular are learning a lot in the bakery right now and should soon be able to make recipes all by themselves. New recipes are constantly being tried out and offered. Tatina and Nastja travel to Bishkek every week in order to bake on site and to see what is happening in the store.
An essential part of the external residential group is independent supply. There are weekly plans in which it is precisely specified when which person has to perform which tasks. Among other things, the residents are responsible for organizing and preparing meals, cleaning the house and yard themselves, taking care of the garden and laundry, taking care of the chickens and helping with the weekly shopping. They are warmly and lovingly supported and guided in these tasks by Nazgul. The residents very much appreciate their independence in the external living group and are very happy to form such a well-functioning unit and to be able to demonstrate their skills. Every Monday the previous week is discussed with the founder Gulja and the social pedagogue Jyldyz. Here the residents have the opportunity to reflect on their well-being and work, address concerns and share thoughts.
Garden and vegetable gardening
The rear part of the property is a beautiful, large garden, which is planted with the most diverse and varied vegetables. New fruit trees were planted in 2023 and are expected to bear fruit in the coming years. This area is also a meaningful workplace and also serves the self-sufficiency of the residents. In addition, they are beautifying the outdoor area with many colorful flowers and new flower beds, creating a place to soak up the sun in the summer, do sports and stretching sessions, and clear their heads. Soon, a chicken coop will also be built here, which will provide a home for the chicks that moved in during spring 2023. The goal is to raise the chickens and be able to sell the eggs in the store next year.