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Fatima's Story

At first, my Mom didn't give me permission to apply for technical school and study. She wanted me to get married, thinking that it will solve everything in my life. But I'm not that kind of person. When I first came to Kumbel Training Center to apply for the one-year course, they told me I had to write a test in order to win a grant. My Mom did not approve of this either, saying it was nonesense. I told her: 'I'm not asking for money. I've won a grant, so I'll go anyway.' Thanks to what I've learned here, I've been able to find a job. Lately, I've been able to earn my own salary, buy my own cell phone, get my driver's license, and buy proper clothes. And when I brought some money home, I felt that my Mom felt proud of me for the first time. After finishing the course at Kumbel, I noticed some changes in me. Before starting, I was a bit careless. I never thought about the future, I didn't know there were different ways to orientate one's life. At Kumbel I've learned many things: I've learned to take life more seriously, to choose properly whom to trust, how to act in different situations, and how to delegate in order to do things the right way. There is one training I'll never forget, where the trainer explained that he helped people identify their life goals and to ask oneself: who am I and what am I here for? After that I began to ask myself: what is my goal and what should I do?

Nastya's Story

One of the unforgettable lessons I've learned in Kumbel Training Center is that, even though many people at work will tell you many negative things about working in the hospitality industry, one shouldn't listen to them, because you have your own way of life. I've experience that very same thing at my work in a hotel, since many of my colleagues tell me that working here doesn't make sense, that I will never achieve anything. This somehow motivates me, because the fact that they haven't achieved anything doesn't mean that the same will happen with me. I have my own life goals and I strive for them, I work in the hospitality industry because I like my profession.

(Anastasya received her certificate from Kumbel Training Center on June 2014. She is currently working at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Almaty)

Bazarbaeva Akbota Alihanovna's Story

I grew up in the countryside, and we didn’t have any dancing clubs, language schools, etc. I always wanted to become a professional dancer, a national champion, learn foreign languages, and develop my potential. Since there were no professional trainers, I became a "self-learner”. With this desire I went on to study in our main metropolis and immediately started attending aerobics. Later on I was selected for the aerobics team of the Kazakhstan National University. For 3 years I did aerobics and even became a champion of KazNU. I studied ballet, folk dancing and taught these for 8 years. I learned English at the university and Spanish at the Irtysh Cultural Center (which was a project of KFCSED), where I discovered what became for me the “school of life”.

I decided to learn Spanish with the desire to develop my talents, abilities and self-realization. Thanks to the Spanish lessons, I got acquainted with the Irtysh Cultural Center and the activities of the Kazakhstan Foundation for Cultural, Social and Educational Development. As I attended the Spanish courses, I learned about the Foundation’s recent project, "Human Rights, Women's Rights," which was supported by the European Union. On a competitive basis, I became a member of this project. This was the beginning of my awakening in the way to volunteering. At the end of the project we were asked to conduct workshops for the beneficiaries in universities. But since I grew up in a rural area, I had the idea to hold seminars in my village. Then I began to wonder about the young people in rural areas. Indeed, such youth needs more awareness of human rights, rather than the youth living in the urban area, where there are more opportunities. We were able to carry out these valuable workshops in the village of Aktogai in many organizations and schools.

Then I was invited to work as an assistant to project coordinator for the Foundation’s next project, "Strengthening the Role of Women in Society", with the support of an Austrian NGO. Through this project I learned how to manage my time, be more organized and proactive, acquired public speaking skills, and lots more. KFCSED for me is the main school of life and professionalism. I used to think only about myself and my career; I could not find my true purpose. After working for these projects I started to think about our youth, especially those living in rural areas. Before my acquaintance with the Foundation, I ignored the existing problems in our country, thinking that that is the way it should be. But when my colleagues from the Foundation began to explain me the difference, I was able to see our country from the top, from the outside, and saw a lot of gaps and challenges. I felt like waking up to reality, and felt bad for my people. This is when I started to think about what I could do to improve society. I thought that short workshops could be easily forgotten. That is how I came up with the idea to select at least one rural area and constantly work with its inhabitants, since quality is more important than quantity. My colleagues from KFCSED are using this principle so far, and I'm glad that they are still active, because they work a great deal for our benefit, which results can be seen on how they have changed the lives of many people.

They surely changed my life.see the full story

Bazarbaeva Akbota Alihanovna
Born in 1985

Zarina Nurmukhambetova's Story

Originally I am from Semipalatinsk, where I grew up and finished high school. At 17, I left home and have since lived in Almaty-4 years- and the United States-5 years-.

Right now I'm working as a Communications Associate with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Almaty. It's my first job since graduating from American University in Washington, DC. In our work, we constantly deal with emergencies and people affected by them. It's fulfilling when we see lives being saved, diseases cured or prevented, families reunited, and so on. But at the same time, there are 74 million people in need in the world right now.

Before getting acquainted with KFCSED, it was my first year living alone. I was 18 and had spent the year before living with an American family. Living on my own was, of course, difficult - having to find a place to live, budget every expense, make new friends, stay away from trouble, stay healthy, etc. Although I felt more independent than a year before, I know now that I was missing out on many opportunities life had laid out in front of me.

I often credit many good things in my life to the leadership training I underwent at the Center in 2006. The course was built on the book by Stephen Covey "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." My first "a-ha" moment came with the very first day of the training when we talked about the value of being proactive, of the importance to always look ahead, and of the many benefits of maintaining work-life balance. Even before the course ended I began changing the way i viewed my life. I began to see it as a pool full of opportunities in different areas - sports, academics, community service, personal relationships, family and many more. For the first time, I truly thought of giving back to society, of finding time to be helpful. The training helped me to excel at the American University where I studied from 2006 to 2010. I stopped making excuses for not going to interesting places and events, trying new sports (yoga, capoeira, salsa), meeting new people, reading more books, volunteering and many more. When I came back to Kazakhstan, things looked grim as my family was going through difficult times, I was living alone in Almaty and all of my friends were back in the States. But maintaining the same spirit of being proactive and think positive I got engaged in a charity project that left me feeling more fulfilled than ever before. But I also needed to find a job. As I was applying for jobs, every employer wanted to hire an experienced candidate. Thankfully, I was able to use all of my volunteering as job experience and got two job offers at the same time where 5-6 years of job experience were a requirement. More importantly, while volunteering, I became close friends with a special person who later became my husband and we are now expecting our first child.

Zarina Nurmukhambetova
Born in 1987