On October 24, SRIS organized a small collection of funds to buy groceries for 5 babushkas that live nearby. 4 teachers and 3 students came to school on Saturday to help organize grocery deliveries to each of the babushkas. Kilos of food like vegetables, milk, pasta, and bread were divided into 5 equal piles. Some of the grandmas had requests for products such as flour or cooking oil.
We loaded all the food into backpacks and shopping bags and divided into 3 teams to walk to each babushka’s house. One group went to the 6th micro-district to visit 2 grandmas, our second group delivered to two more in the 11th micro-district near school, and our third group went to one grandmother the 12th. Luckily, the group going to the 6th had a bicycle with them – they needed to deliver 10 kilos of flour!
Once we arrived at their homes, we were immediately welcomed in and met with warm gratitude. As one student describes, “They were wholeheartedly thankful and happy to see us. Some even offered us a cup of tea and asked us to keep them company.” Some of the babushkas were so overwhelmed by the delivery that they were moved to tears. Later that day, our contact person at the charity wrote that “Babushka L called us and said ‘thank you so much’, she was so happy, and she said she cried out of joy.”
One 8th grader writes, “The first grandma we visited was quite old and it’s a shame that not many people help. She couldn’t hear well [she needs money to buy a new hearing aid]. The second grandma was a bit younger and she had someone to take care of her which was good.”
Many elderly people in Bishkek struggle to live on the low pensions they receive, especially when they live alone as many of them do. Our deliveries make a significant difference in their lives, particularly when we buy medicine, which is often too expensive for their budgets.
With the efforts of 7 people, the work was quick and efficient. Prior to this, two teachers alone tried to accomplish the same goal of visiting 5 babushkas in one day. One teacher described the difference: “When it was only two people, it took over 7 hours of planning, price negotiating, shopping, and delivering groceries. Today, though, our staff and students worked together to make something special happen in just one short afternoon. The same work was much faster while still being equally satisfying. That’s the power of a community at work!”
Every one of us enjoyed volunteering for Babushka Adoption. “It was an unforgettable experience,” said one 10th grade volunteer. “The feeling of being able to contribute felt like we were paying them tribute for their hard work. Overall, being able to participate was an incredible way to spend time on Saturday afternoon. I made someone’s day better which in return made me feel delighted. If you have the possibility and desire to contribute, I encourage you to join us in helping the Babushka Adoption program.”
An 8th grade volunteer said, “I personally loved helping. I loved being a part of helping the community even if I only carried groceries. It was great experience overall.”
Similar to the students, our teacher volunteers also found great value in this effort. As one teacher writes, “The work feels personal. These people are our neighbors, our community members. There’s no better feeling than helping genuinely kind people in need.”
A special thank you goes out to our school’s business manager, Ms. Mahabat, who helped purchase all the groceries as well as deliver them. Without her knowledge, connections, and efforts, the entire process would have been far more challenging. Thank you!