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June 29, 2018
Winners of the 2018 “Zhakyra” Competition
Atyrau, Kazakhstan - On June 17, an awards ceremony for the authors of the best projects on social entrepreneurship within the “«Zharkyra»a” program, implemented by the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia with the financial support of Tengizchevroil LLP, was held in Atyrau.
On May 30-31, 2018, 25 semi-finalists presented their social projects to a committee of experts, which selected eight projects for financial support in the form of a grant, interest-free loans for 5 years, and professional internships. The total monetary fund of the Zhakyr Program this year was 14,900,000 KZT. Among the winners are three start-ups and five working projects from the city of Atyrau and from the Zhylyoi and Makhambest regions.
According to the experts' decision, the winners were:
Gulbaram Yermukhanova with the project "Inclusive Workshop: Venus” received the highest score, won a grant of 3 million tenge, and was placed into a professional internship. As the mother of a child with special needs, Gulbaram is aware of the problems faced by the parents of such children in Atyrau. The project will help with the development of children with disabilities diagnosed with autism, delayed psychological development, delayed speech development, and Down's syndrome.
Almagul Shudabaeva with the project "FasTracKids: Future Leaders” received a loan for 3 million KZT and will be placed into a professional internship. FasTracKids is an international franchise of children's educational centers. The goal of the center is to create a stimulating environment for children, where they can develop their abilities and important personal qualities. In the Montessori office, staff will be able to work with children with disabilities. This project solves the problem of acute shortage of pre-school institutions in Kulsary, as well as the shortage of opportunity for high-quality early child development.
Tatiana Zimmerman with the “Happy Mom” Center for Childbirth Preparation received an interest-free loan of 3 million KZT and was placed into a professional internship. The center helps women to give birth to healthy babies and to bring families closer together. For this purpose, the center conducts special physical education classes, lectures, and consultations with a family psychologist.
Gulden Utebaliyeva with the Sports Club for the Disabled in the Makhambet region received an interest-free loan of KZT 1.5 million and was placed into a professional internship. The club takes place in a room in a sports school, where classes on table games and table tennis are held for the disabled. Gulden's goal is to attract even more people to the sport.
Askar Aldan with the Robotics Club was placed into a professional internship. In these robotics classes, students between 6 and 16 years old construct and assemble robots, work with sensors and motors, and write programs for robots. This club contributes to the development of their technical and engineering skills, logic, and ability to solve problems and seemingly unsolvable tasks.
Marina Kantseva with the Splash Creative Studio will be placed into a professional internship. Marina opened the studio in 2016. In the studio, there is a music hall and photo studio, while there are also classes on singing, choreography, painting, and handicrafts. There is also a teenage club called "We Live" at the studio, whose social task is the initial vocational guidance of teenagers from low-income families in the field of liberal arts-related and creative work, job creation, and training of future staff.
Gulzhan Yelesheva with the Toughan Zher Tourism and Local History Club received an interest-free loan for 500 thousand tenge. The project will allow schoolchildren to explore their native land and gain survival skills. The participants of the club will get theoretical knowledge that will help them in hiking.
Iliyas Usenov with the Vera Sports and Health Center for PWDs won an interest-free loan for 1.5 million tenge and was placed into a professional internship. Iliyas was categorized as having a Group 1 disability as a result of an industrial injury. For several years, he received rehabilitation treatment in various centers in Almaty and Astana, so he decided to open a sports and fitness center for PWDs in Atyrau in order to improve their condition and bring them back to life. In Iliyas’ center, PWDs will be able to exercise on special machines and enjoy each other’s company.
The winner of the popular vote on the website of the Atyrau television channel was Venera Turganova with the Japanese Center for Karate and Origami. As an incentive prize, Venera received the right to participate free of charge in all of the 2019 Zhakyr Program events and trainings.
The award ceremony took place in the Altyn Sazan Resort as a team building exercise, in which the winners of the 2016-2017 competition, consultants, partners, and program trainers participated.
This year, the competition received 69 applications, 25 of which made it to the semi-finals. The Foundation conducted business trainings on marketing, finance, strategic planning, and public speaking for the semi-finalists. Participants also received assistance from consultants on preparing business plans.
The Zhakyr Program provides an entire cycle of support for social entrepreneurs: application selection/evaluation, training, project funding competition, and an exchange of experience and mentoring. Social entrepreneurship is about businesses with social missions that help society to solve relevant problems in an innovative way. It has been practiced successfully and for a long time in different countries in order to help citizens themselves effectively solve society’s most pressing issues. Supporting social entrepreneurship is helping the state solve social problems. This is smart charity — it is the implementation of the ideas of active, involved citizens.