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 Press release - Volunteering in Sumgayit (AzRC)

 Press release date: 14.04.2002

Volunteering in Sumgayit

Sumgayit is used to be a city of youth. From all parts of the former Soviet Union young men gathered to Sumgayit firstly to build and then to work at numerous plants and factories.

"Sumgayit was leader of soviet chemical industry and when it was building nobody even thought of such things like ecology or environment" - said Parviz Novruzov, Youth and Volunteer Coordinator of Sumgayit Regional Center of Azerbaijan Red Crescent declared to information officer.

As a result of such thoughtless construction plants producing chlorine, ammonia, chemical acids, plastics, aluminum etc. were concentrated on relatively small area.

"At the moment most of those plants stopped or do not work on their full capacity but soil and seaside already highly polluted" - said Parviz. "I remember the time when all of the plants were functioning and when we were driving near to caoutchouc production plant we had to pass around puddles generated from concentrated pollutant emissions as they were consisting mostly from acid and corroded tires"

For few years Sumgayit became the place of ecological disaster and certainly that fact influenced negatively to health of citizens. And of course children are the most vulnerable in such situation. Most of them already born with different illnesses.

"A lot of people appeal to us asking to help their children with medical treatment and quiet often to fund operations abroad. Certainly we are not able to send somebody to have surgical operation in Moscow not to mention in European countries but we are trying to assist them within our recourses," revealed Parviz.

After analyzing the situation there were found out that some of children isolated from the rest of the world and can't even attend school or play with their coevals. These facts caused the direction of work with children.
"In our Regional Center we have a group consisting of 5 volunteers which work directly with disabled children. Twice per week they visit 15 children living in different parts of Sumgayit," said Parviz. "Volunteers help children to do lessons, they also paint and learn songs together".

Namig Abbasov is 11 years old and he suffers from a severe form of bronchial asthma complicated with allergy. Because of his disease he is not able to be out of his home most part of the time. When the weather is windy or rainy he had to stay at home as dust causes acute allergy and slightest super cooling asthma attack.
"I was attending school till 3rd grade and then I fell ill," Namig tells us. "I have two teachers from school coming to teach me and Leyla from Red Crescent"

"He is very smart boy and always trying to do his home work, but due to his isolation he is very shy and avoids strangers. I am pedagogue but it was difficult to break the ice between us," said Leyla Mamedova, volunteer of Sumgayit Regional Center. "Now we are best friends. Actually this is what that entire program about - to widen horizon of those children, to get them integrated to the community".

Sumgayit Regional Center already conducts this program for almost 1 year and gained some experience in work with disabled children. This experience is planning to be transferred to other branches in the framework of reforming of volunteer structure initiated in AzRC.

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