12037884_10208261574766454_1778757603_oFLEX alumnus Vadim Abanin ’09 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan/Tomball, TX) organized a follow up project after the completion of the FLEX Alumni Networking Conference, where participants renovated a playground at the local Hissor orphanage for children with disabilities.  Forty-four alumni of U.S. Government funded exchange programs worked in groups to develop a one community service project at the Networking Conference and the project idea of renovating a playground was selected based on the framework of the event to increase abilities and opportunities for youth in Dushanbe and to contribute to local community.
The orphanage is located in Hissor, a region nearby the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. Volunteers processed approximately six tons of construction material to lay pathways throughout the playground – two tons of gravel, one ton of cement and three tons of sand-gravel mix.  Alumni used fifty liters of paint to create a mural painting, and eighty-eight square meters of playground surface was covered by concrete to reconstruct the area for the young people.

A total of sixty-four volunteers participated in the two-day event. Volunteers consisted of FLEX and College Prep Club (CPC) alumni, Eurasian Language Program (ERLP) students, American Corner volunteers, and friends and supporters of the alumni network.  The FLEX Alumni Network Conference and the follow on project were made possible thanks to a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan.  A common goal brought together a diverse group of people to benefit the local community!