Never stop dreaming!

02 May 2017

 I was 10 years old when I met Kofi Annan in person at the Children Word Festival held by the United Nations in Switzerland. For a girl from a small country in the Central Asia it was strong impression. Since that moment I have been dreaming to work for United Nations.

I was 10 years old when I met Kofi Annan in person at the Children Word Festival held by the United Nations in Switzerland. For a girl from a small country in the Central Asia it was strong impression. Since that moment I have been dreaming to work for United Nations.

17 years later my dream came true and I started working at the GEF financed and UNDP implemented project. I moved with my husband and two children to my new duty station – Karakol (Issyk-Kul oblast) though it was not the easiest thing to do. I loved the main goals of the project to conserve the globally significant biodiversity of the Central Tian Shan, which also includes protecting and supporting snow leopard.

On day, we implemented a visit to beneficiaries who started small business start-ups under implementation of the alternative livelihoods programme. During one day, we had visited those 16 projects in the villages around Karakol.

In the homishness of sewing workshop at the village Uch-Kaynar I noticed a small girl aged 4-5 years old. She was playing next to her mother who was working there. In Kyrgyzstan, there is a very small number of kindergartens in villages - mothers with little children do not have opportunity to work. It was heartening to see that project moreover provided opportunities to young mothers to be employed. Kyial -  head of the workshop told us that she was going to expand their small business to enjoy the orders coming from Bishkek. They are producing costumes for children, bags for sport equipment for teenagers and bed-clothes.

We continued our visits to very different projects including construction of greenhouse, creation of ethnic village from Boz-Ui (yurt), establishing by youth information center for tourists, wool combing workshop, poultry farm, confectionery, dairy, juice, dried fruit producing workshops.

It is worth to know about information center for tourists at Teplokluchenka village which is well equipped with office and media equipment. Youth is very active there, having established resource center where children learn English. They have different ideas how to attract tourists to Issyk-Kul oblast and mainly to the newly established national park Khan Teniri.

I met Tolondyugo Bayaliev with almost 500 chickens who recently received a certificate on eggs culture. He is building now a greenhouse and at his own cost installing a small biogas station to produce energy for maintaining their business. I was also very impressed by Bekbosun Kydykov’s household at Ak-Bulun. He told us that UNDP made his dream to build a greenhouse come true. Over 20 years he has been growing garlic, mint, valerian and pepper Anaheim. Most of his customers are foreigners.

Many of the procured equipment were made by Russian Federation. People were very happy of their quality and I think it also happened because the Kyrgyz Republic joined the Eurasian Economic Union and Russian goods became reasonable and best value for money.

Citizens were very passionate about establishment of the Khan Teniri National Park to conserve unique species and environment for future generations. They also told how their lives had changed thanks to the project “Improving the coverage and management effectiveness of PAs in the Central Tian-Shan Mountains”.  It is notable that they had been sharing their experience on micro-capital grant financing to launch own businesses with the citizens from other villages.

I used to work in different areas with different people. However, during my visit I saw how people’s eyes were full of light. I didn’t only get my childhood dream job but also see that UN helps people to fulfill their dreams. Therefore, never stop dreaming!

Aselia Sagynbaeva, UNDP-GEF “For improving the coverage and management effectiveness of protected areas in the Central Tian-Shan” Project Assistant  (aselia.sagynbaeva@undp.org)