Bishkek (Agenzia Fides) - "The work carried out at the 'Center for the rehabilitation and spirituality of children' is undoubtedly the largest pastoral and charitable work of the Catholic Church in Kyrgyzstan: it is, in fact, a home that houses over a thousand children a year. The project was born years ago, from the organization of summer camps that took place periodically in different places and gave the opportunity for poor children or those with disabilities to go on holiday by the sea, in the mountains or in the forest. From there, we started to consider the possibility of doing the same activities in a stable house and, after identifying a wonderful place on the banks of the famous Issy-kul Lake, with the help of people and donors from abroad, we built the structure within a year". This is what Fr. Damian Wojciechowski, a Polish Jesuit missionary in Kyrgyzstan told Agenzia Fides, with regards to the Issyk Center, a home dedicated to Kyrgyz children run by the religious of the Society of Jesus.
Located near one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world, the center offers periodic hospitality to orphaned children with disabilities or in poverty. The structure, says the note, "is located near forests, mountains and the Tien-Shan glaciers. This location allows the guests at the center not only to relax on the beach, but also to hike or swim in the thermal springs".
"From year to year, the number of groups from abroad increases at the center", explains the Jesuit. Volunteers take care of organizing English language lessons, organize games and sports competitions, but also rehabilitation and development activities.
"We hope in the future to have a bigger structure to improve the living conditions of the guests and reduce the number of children sleeping in each room. We hope then to have more space for a chapel, a larger room for activities and to be able to involve more volunteers, both local and foreign", concludes Fr. Wojciechowski.
In Kyrgyzstan, the Catholic presence is concentrated in the three parishes of Bishkek, Jalal-Abad and Talas, but many small communities are distributed in the rural areas of the country. Local Catholics can count on the spiritual assistance of seven priests, a religious and five Franciscan nuns. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 27/8/2019)