Jesuit Parish, Dzalalabad, Kyrgyzstan

Qualified English Teachers needed. Volunteers must have an aptitude for languages.
The Jesuits in Dzalabad are seeking an English teacher who would also be prepared to get involved in their pastoral work.

The volunteer will teach English Language lessons at the small church hall in Dzalalabad. The work will be very varied and the teaching can be combined with many other roles. For appropriately qualified teachers, there will be the opportunity to teach at the University and also at a very basic level in the Prison. There is work available in the home for disabled children and the Boy’s home. However, conditions are very basic and challenging.

In summer the volunteer will get involved in a very exciting and unusual programme in Kyrgyzstan. The Jesuits are holding several summer camps for Catholic & Muslim Youths in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. They will share their faith, teach English and organise sporting, musical and other activities. ( see below)

The volunteer will live life as part of the Jesuit Community and should be willing to participate fully in all aspects of Community life.

The start date for this placement is September. The period of service is for a minimum of 1 year

Background
Bordering China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, Kyrygyzstan has the breathtakingly beautiful Tien Shen Mountain range running across the country. A predominantly Muslim nation it contains many ethnic groups. Unfortunately, tensions broke out between the ethnic groups in 2010 resulting in a revolution. Religious laws are also getting stricter, making life difficult for Catholics.

The Catholics living there are a minority group, many of whom are descendents of those who were deported there by Stalin. For many years under communism, Catholics were discouraged from practicing their faith and there were few Catholic priests to support them. Currently there are only 9 catholic priests and brothers there.

Because of the lack of priests, many of the local people have forgotten aspects of Catholic teaching and they need support in this area. Many of the Catholics have to meet in each other’s homes, because of the lack of church buildings. The Catholics are dispersed across many small villages and very often the young Catholics do not know any other young believers As well as providing pastoral support in the Chapels, the Jesuits have started up summer faith camps for the young Catholics so that they can meet up with each other. They also run a pioneering interfaith camp for Muslim students in Kyrgyzstan. In their daily life the Catholics will only be visited by a Priest once every two or three weeks.

The summer camps take place in the mountains and are proving incredibly popular and each year the numbers attending them are increasing. There were 60 young people at the camps in 2008 and 200 in 2009 (with many applicants turned away) Unfortunately, following the revolution in 2010 the Jesuits were only able to run much smaller camps, but they did go ahead with them!