Hug Me, and I will make you happy!

Eight hugs a day are said to make a person happy. If to look at this warm feeling expression from this side, then the representatives of Association of women with disabilities “Shyrak” together with the ARGO employees made happy more than 300 guests of Maxima shopping mall last Sunday.

Almaty citizens, who visited one of the shopping malls (Maxima) of southern capital were surprised and even shocked when they got hugs from “Hug me!” action participants right near the entrance.



Charming girls and women from the Association of Women with Disabilities “Shyrak “, as well as volunteers with posters on their chest “Hug me!” offered newcomers to share their love, joy and care. The fact, that those who offered the hugs were people with disabilities in wheelchairs gave a touching effect to this event.

Everyone, who was brave enough to support the action, hugged not less than 4 participants of the action. After he or she was awarded with a balloon with the “Empowerment Now!” informational campaign logo.

“To be honest, we didn’t expect to give away all 200 balloons in just half an hour. We are glad that the most of people who were shopping or entertaining, participated in the action, shared their love and good mood through hugs,” said Askar Kaliyev, the director of “Empowerment now!” campaign.

As Lyazzat Kaltayeva, the chairman of Association of women with disabilities “Shyrak”, said, “It is known that people with disabilities in their lives face a lot of stereotyping and labeling, rooted in the society. Therefore, this action aims to overcome the existing distance between people with and without disabilities.”

For this reason, one of the most important principles of such kinds of events is the involvement and participation of people without disabilities.

“The special thing about this action is that the disabled people make the first step towards a society themselves, destroying the psychological barriers, and showing the example of openness, respect and tolerance,” said Kaltayeva.

The event was organized within the frameworks of “Empowerment Now!” national informational campaign, which has been implemented in all Kazakhstani regions by the Association of Civil Society Development “ARGO” together with the partners (NGO “Namys,” NGO “Shyrak,” and NGO “ASRIV”), with the financial support of USAID/CAR since December 2013. It aims to improve the attitude of the population toward people with disabilities, to emphasize the tolerance and respect.