Dear Family and Friends,

After Kazakhstan’s incredibly difficult start to 2022, I want to ensure members and visitors alike know that here in the Almaty International Women’s Club (AIWC) we care for each other in good times and sad. So, if you’re in need of a friendly face, good company and a little encouragement you’re in the right place, and on behalf of the AIWC board I want to extend a warm welcome to you today!

Originally founded by four ladies in 1994, the Club has gone from strength to strength and today and despite the dreaded virus having taken many members back to their home countries during 2021, we still have over 80 members from 24 different countries, and of course this includes members from Kazakhstan, too.

The AIWC is an English language club designed to support expats and locals alike, but it also works to give back to the local community through various charities. It has always been a very lively and supportive group of dedicated ladies (and gentlemen) and most importantly, members are very welcoming to newcomers by helping individuals and families find their feet in this beautiful multicultural country.

Kazakhstan is an amazing country located on the Silk Road with a long and interesting history, and there is much to see and do. Besides historical sites to explore, it features spectacular mountains, delicious food, a lively nightlife, and the people are warm and welcoming. This includes AIWC members, for you will find them willing and able to help you explore if you are a newcomer.

I can testify to this as, arriving in August 2021, I’m a relative newcomer to Almaty myself. Now, as AIWC President, I should share a little about myself, so let me tell you that although I’m British, I’m a bit of a global nomad as this is the 5th country that I’ve come to call home. I came here with my husband who is working at De Montfort University Kazakhstan, but without any of our five children because they’re all now adults and living their own lives in various parts of the world. My working life was primarily spent in education, first, teaching in a kindergarten in the UK, then in junior and high school in Hong Kong before spending my final years in the classroom as an English language lecturer teaching at universities in both the Far and Middle East.

Whenever I can, I enjoy playing Mahjong and love socialising, particularly around a theme.  I was therefore excited to discover that AIWC had several clubs already up and running. If you enjoy learning languages, we have English, Russian and Italian on offer.  For those with children there is a playgroup and for the active there is the hiking group. There is also a book club and a craft group, and if you work during the day, you’ll be pleased to know that we also have a group meeting in the evenings.  If you have a special interest that you’d like to share with others, maybe you could consider starting a brand-new group!

As President,  I look forward to getting to know each of you and trying every group at least once, and together with the amazing board members, I’m working with, I also look forward to building upon the work of all who have gone before me to ensure AIWC’s excellent reputation in the wider community continues to grow.

My hope is that AIWC will bless both old and new members to make new and meaningful friendships and memories that will bring joy for a lifetime while serving the community in which we live. If you’re not already a member, please join us to bless and be blessed!

Elaine Pounder
AIWC President
Almaty International Women’s Club
Phone/WhatsApp: +7778 903 6126