The Society has organised a number of fundraising events in Baku, London and Aberdeen since its formation and raised a considerable amount of money for charities operating in Azerbaijan.
Humanitarian and charitable work of the Society
In the early years of the Society’s formation, it held events in the UK (London and Aberdeen) and in Azerbaijan where people were persuaded to donate money for charitable and humanitarian purposes in Azerbaijan. This money – now heading for a total of about $500,000 over ten years – went into projects which the Society thought would improve the lives of the least privileged, especially mentally and physically handicapped children. It is easy to say, “Why should anyone give money to projects that are the business of Azerbaijani ministries and the government?” The answer is that even in the richest country in the world, the United States; there is a strong tradition of “giving”. The Anglo-Azerbaijani Society is not like a government aid programme, nor is it in competition with Messrs Carnegie, Gates or Buffett, but it can play a small part in helping others. The thought is quite simple: the Society is made up of lots of individuals who believe that charity is an important part of any civilised country.
Each year the Anglo-Azerbaijan Society made a selection of the charities it wished to support. Unfortunately there were always more deserving causes than there were money, and the Society’s policy was to make significant sums available to fewer projects rather than spread the money too thinly.
Small charitable donations were also made to organisations such as the International Women’s Club in Baku who approached the Society for funds for local causes. And then the charitable side of the Society started to grow in size.
The Society channelled most of its funds through non-governmental organisations who will ensure that they are used to maximum benefit. These NGOs include: Community Shield Azerbaijan, United Aid for Azerbaijan, HealthProm Safe Motherhood Programme, Association of Young Azerbaijani Friends of Europe, RSLSTEEPER (a company producing aids for the handicapped) and the International Women’s Club in Baku.
How did we raise money for charity?
For the first two years (1988 and 1999), the Society held Charity Dinners in London and raised funds for good causes in Azerbaijan to the amount of $70,000. It was then agreed by the Executive Committee that there should be one large charity event each year, and that this should be in Baku during the Oil & Gas Show week. Charity dinners were held in Baku in 2000, 2001 and 2002 jointly with the British Business Group raising large amounts of money. In 2003 and 2004 the events raised a total of $130,000.
In 2004 the Society held its first Charity Burns Supper in Aberdeen which raised over £9,500 ($19,000). The 2005 Burns Supper, also in Aberdeen, raised another £10,000 ($20,000) which went to projects run by the excellent charity – Community Shield.
Let us take a specific example. Following the tradition, a fundraising dinner was held in Baku at the time of the Oil & Gas Show in June 2005. 280 tickets were sold and, as usual, more people wanted to come than there was room for. Companies sponsored the dinner and donated some prizes (including air tickets) for an auction/lottery. By the end of the evening the Society had raised $45,000 all of which went towards charitable projects. Nothing was subtracted for the administrative costs of any of these events (which are carried by the Society and by personal contributions of time and effort).
Again in 2006 and 2007 the same event took place – each time raising some $50,000 for charities in Azerbaijan.
In 2007, $12,000 went to the Burnaby Blue Foundation who worked with an organisation called “CARD” on a safe drinking water supply, bathrooms and a washing/sanitary system in an orphanage in Gendje, and on renovating a room used as a computer centre. In addition to this, the Burnaby Blue Foundation received $17,000 raised by KCA Deutag from the sponsored motorbike charity ride from Ceyhan to Baku (“The Wrong Way Round” trip).
what made it Worthwhile!
Seeing these smiling faces drives home just how worthwhile the charitable activities of the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society are. $20,000 from the money raised by the Society at the 2005 Charity Dinner in Baku was given to “Community Shield”, the charity which has been working on the Shuvelan project in recent years.
The Shuvelan sanatorium is home for around 35 children suffering from respiratory problems. The entire place had fallen into disrepair but the toilet, bathroom facilities and the classrooms were the worst. Thanks to the Society’s contribution, Community Shield was able to embark on a $35,000 renovation and refurbishment programme of the whole site.
The cost of renovating the classrooms ($13,000) was met by the Baku-Irish Society, by funds raised by the Holycross and Klyeakin Football clubs, and by Netherlands trains, thus making it an Irish-Scottish-Dutch venture. The above picture is the classroom as it is today.
With the proceeds from the Anglo Azerbaijani Society’s charity dinner held in Baku in June 2005 , the Society’s donation of $20,000 specifically financed the toilet and bathroom facilities which underwent a complete overhaul. The building was in such bad shape that it was effectively demolished. This is what it looked like at the half way stage:
It now provides a superb shower room and toilet facilities next to the dormitory in addition to outside facilities for the summer time.
The Society is not in this for the applause, but the thank-you from the Shuvelan children and the smiles on their faces are enough to lift anyone’s spirits.
Community Shield also approached the Society for support a project to upgrade the kitchen in a home for blind people in Baku – $4,000; refurbishment of the toilets and washrooms in a sanatorium in Lokbatan for children with heart problems – $10,000; and an upgrade of as many of the sanatorium bedrooms as we are able to achieve for $8,000. We were only able to do this project with the continued support of our sponsors and members!
Mashtaga Physchiatric hospital – The Children’s Ward
In 2006 the Society’s Executive Committee decided that all money raised during 2006 would be donated to a children’s charity in memory of a member of the committee Mrs. Susan Crouch, who died unexpectedly in 2006. Working closely with Community Shield Azerbaijan (CSA), we were directed to a children’s ward in a psychiatric hospital in the Mashtaga district of Baku, which was badly in need of renovation. From the proceeds of our main fundraising dinner held in Baku June 2006 and a similar event held in Scotland, together with donations in lieu of flowers for Susan [and a generous donation from Susan’s husband Brian], the Society contributed $80,000 towards the complete refurbishment of this ward. The ward has been named The Susan Crouch Ward in her memory. CSA also coordinated the overall project, estimated at $150,000, which included the upgrade of a second ward at the hospital which was opened in November 2007.
Lord and Lady Fraser and staff and children at the opening of The Susan Crouch Ward.
The Opening of the Wards at Mashtaga Hospital – Lord Fraser (Chairman London) with Professor Nargiz Pashayeva (Chairman Baku)
In 2008 approximately $79,000 was raised and this money was donated to Community Shield Azerbaijn for the restoration of an invalid home and computer room, UFUQ for children’s medical referrals, and Saray Orphanage for ongoing restoration work, and HealthProm towards a Safe Childbirth Programme Training scheme.
“I take great pleasure in advising you that the Community Shield renovation work at the Invalid Home has been completed.
(1) a treatment room and (2) a computer room were created, both of immense value to the residents.
The treatment room means the patients can receive treatment in-house, avoiding a difficult journey into Baku. The computer room allows the residents to explore the world without incurring any discomfort. Thanks to an anonymous donor, 6 computers were donated for this room and an expat volunteer, Mr Joe Dowse, installed and added equipment, including internet access, to make it as easy as possible to use these pcs.
Originally, we submitted only the Invalid Home treatment room project to AAS and in October 2008, you generously agreed to allocate AZN 10,000 towards the cost.
Subsequently, we were given 6 computers, and having received an offer to have these installed and connected to the internet, we decided to create a computer room as well.
We enclose pictures showing the before and after condition of the rooms, and one of a resident enjoying the new facilities.
We plan to have an official opening of the two rooms some time soon, and hope that a representative of AAS will be able to attend.”
Community Shield Azerbaijan
The Society’s activities in relation to Charity and fundraising have slowed down in the past few years especially with the increased wealth of Azerbaijan, and the work of the Society has moved towards health and education projects. However, Executive Committee members still believe in helping good causes in Azerbaijan and when they are approached for funding/donations, with the very limnited funds they now have available, they are still considered. Here are some more recent projects that have received donations from the Society:
THE SOCIETY DONATES TOWARDS A PLAYGROUND FOR THE CHILDREN AT MASHTAGA INSTITUTION
A lady called Nubar Mammadova every week for the last 10 years, has been visiting the Mental Institution for adults and children in Mashtaga village in Baku. Most of the children and adults there have lived there for most of their lives. Previously, in 2006 the Society donated £10,000 and opened up the Susan Crouch Ward at Mashtaga. The Society was approached by Nugar who had the idea to build a playground for the kids in Mashtaga; The kids are confined inside the building purely because they have nothing to do, nowhere to go or even to sit outside. They have never been taken anywhere outside the building. They do not get the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air or nature, or to even just run outside.
Nubar has been in talks with the director of the Institution who has shown a very positive response by allowing the playground to be built. It is going to be a small playground but would mean the world to the kids. Two companies MRCL MMC and MASK both agreed to build the playground and have very generously donated over half the cost towards this project. However, 6,620 AZN (6,308 USD)was still required. The Society has donated £4,000 to his project and look forward to seeing the end result by the end of this year.
A DONATION TO A CHILDRENS HOME SHAGAN
The Society hosted an event with Ralph Lauren store in Bond Street, London earlier in 2015 to celebrate the opening of their new store in Baku. A percentage of the proceeds from the evening (£480) was donated to a charity in Azerbaijan to be chosen by the Society. The home is Shagan, in Merdakan, which is a fairly rural large village just outside Baku where United Aid for Azerbaijan, had been working there with their own project , and a charity that was well known to the Society, was identified and a donation of £1500 was paid to Gwen Burchell (UAFA’s director) The Society made up the donation to - £1020 towards the continuation of care and the project at Shagan.
With continued support from our sponsors and members, we would like to continue our important work – Please join us!
The Anglo-Azerbaijani Society Fundraising Concert and Dinner
Thursday, 20th October 2016
This event was held to raise money for the continued work of the charity United Aid for Azerbaijan (UAFA)
Every child is our child. How we look after the weakest members of our society determines how strong we are as a society. UAFA works with children all over Azerbaijan who are deprived from education because of poverty, disability and isolation. Children with disabilities are usually pitied, their families feel shame, and they may put their children into State care. Once in care, they rarely leave. However, since 2001, UAFA has been working to change the lives of these children and their families. Our results have seen many of the children return home, attend school, or develop their talents in music, sports, art and cooking. Before we arrived, they would all have spent every day in bed.
The funds raised from this event will help UAFA’s work with these children so that this valuable progress is not lost, but can only grow. Nobody is insured from disability; therefore it is the duty of all of us to support the children, their care-givers and the State to create a system which puts humanity at the centre and enables the children to realize their equal rights in life.
Professor Nargiz Pashayeva (Chairman Baku) and Lord German (Chairman London) co-hosted a concert followed by a dinner at The Four Seasons Hotel in the Segah Banquet Room which took place on Thursday 20th October 2016 during the ITE Exhibition BakuBuild. Around 60,000 AZN was raised for United Aid for Azerbaijan.
UAFA has developed a successful program of activities that help to raise the level of State care for children with disabilities, as well as promote home-based care and family reunification, in Azerbaijan. This film describes why it is so important to support this initiative and keep children in families.