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Supporting Citizens’ Organizations in the Former Soviet Union

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Testimonials from Kazakh Women


3/01/2002 Testimonials from Kazakh Women

Zhana Baiburina, professional clothing designer and business manager, Kazakhstan

Zhana Baiburina

In Kazakhstan, the biggest problem for women and families is unemployment, so CSE supports groups that offer job skill training and small business opportunities.

Zhana received a grant and advice from the Center to train and find jobs for women in the clothing industry. She is now opening a computer cafe to train women for computer and restaurant work. Her next step is opening a comprehensive women's rights center.

After receiving her grant Zhana was invited to Sweden to participate in an international fair for women's organizations. Together with the mayor and services of social security she helps clothe women in need from her own shop, in which second hand things are collected by members of this NGO and their supporters.

They give out things to very poor people free-of-charge. Zhana is full of desire to start new projects like the creation of a women's rights center where women can receive help not only with material things, but also in the form of legal aid, psychological counselling and from information dissemination.

The leadership training seminar conducted by CSE together with the Department of Education have offered women answers to questions about childrens rights to attend any educational institution.

New roundtable meetings with various state organs for discussion social issues are also planned.

Balijan Kalieva

After receiving her grant to develop small business seminars, Balijan Kalieva gave up her career as leader of the Democratic Party of Women of Kazakhstan, and has devoted herself completely to supporting women who want to open small businesses.

Seminars that are held by the organization are very much needed, as seen from quantities of applications for these seminars.
Balijan concludes contracts with businesses who purchase handmade products from women who attended the seminars. The children's club actively operates on the basis of this organization. Baljan considers that her participation in politics will not be as useful as her direct work with rural women which she was able to start thanks to the grant.

She has big plans. She wants to create a fund supporting women who operate small businesses, for example, to give out microcredits, without interest after training at seminars. The fund will be created with the assistance of the Association of Business Women. She also prepares for the creation of Rural Resource Centers for women; already there is an arrangement with local governments for project support.

Aigul Sisenalina

Aigul Sisenalina from Aktyubinsk says that her grant has changed her life. She has begun to drive an automobile, has found work, helps women and has started to create a Crisis Center for women who are victims of violence. She was supported very much by local authorities.

Aigul says that during a training she has felt internal changes and now she practically realizes her new abilities and qualities. She is very grateful.

All the participants wish for the continuation of the project, saying they have received a charge of vivacity and confidence! This will lead to new opportunities for contining and expanding the development of women's activities.

Women are very thankful to Francis and Enid from the Center for Safe Energy, and Nurlan and Kaisha, not only for financial support, but also for the moral and psychological help. They have felt the utility, forces and real ability to change the life and life of those near them that need help.

Kaisha Atakhanova, Director, Karaganda Eco-Center, Kazakhstan

Kaisha Atakhanova

Kaisha organized a successful public lobbying campaign to defeat a _proposed law that would permit the import and storage of radioactive waste into Kazakhstan.

For three years the Center staff conducted a training and small grants program with Kaisha for women starting new citizen organizations.