Program of the Soros-Kyrgyzstan Fund: Youth Program
Solving Youth Problems through Creative Interactions
Period of implementation: 1.07.2013- 31.6.2014
This section will describe how the grant and the work on the project influenced the institutional development of the organization- the grant recipient. Analyze the changes in the range and extent provided by your organization and expert services, expanding the range of customers and/or donors; assess the potential of the organization, its institutional sustainability; when presenting, specify the significant qualitative changes that have occurred as a result of realizing the project in the work of the organization.
Since its establishment, Aigine CRC has worked with many different groups of young people. The work on the project “Solving youth problems through creative interactions” significantly expanded the range of activities in this direction. Only within the framework of this project we began a) working with young people with disabilities and b) creating a platform for the interaction between non-disabled and disabled youth. In the course of this project, Aigine CRC, together with komuz experts, provided their acquired skills to the blind and visually impaired people. Moreover, during the project it became apparent that different approaches were required for the two groups (see Interim Report). Acquired skills included the field of logistics, musical pedagogy and the psychology of relationships between blind people.
The completion of the project was marked by unavoidable circumstances. Aigine CRC had never worked under such psychologically stressful conditions before. The work confirmed the sustainability of the project’s concept, and, in particular, the organization as a whole. Before teaching people with disabilities Nurak Abdrakhmanov’s method En Belgi, Aigine CRC had implemented two projects to teach the method to teachers from music- and secondary schools. In April 2014, during a field workshop in preparation of the final concert, the main inspirer and expert mentor, Nurak Abdrakhmanov, was brought to the hospital. It happened very suddenly, on the evening before the group’s departure to Issyk-Kul. Within two days, the instructors were substituted by music teachers from Cholpon-Ata and Karakol, who had also studied with Nurak Abdrakhmanov. The field seminars fulfilled all of the objectives. In addition, the participants prepared a surprise for their mentor- they mastered his new and still little-known song “Issyk-Kul”.
On the night of May 25, Nurak Abdrakhmanov passed away. The final concert was scheduled for May 26, less than 15 hours after his death. The question of postponing or canceling the concert was discussed in a matter of urgency with his widow and all of the project’s participants during the night and early morning of May 26. Everyone agreed that the concert should take place. The entire program of the concert had been planned together with Nurak Abdrakhmanov. Volunteers who were unable to perform due to psychological reasons were replaced by former students of Nurak Abdrakhmanov. Due to the tragic circumstances, changes in the program, especially concerning the visual presentation, were made two to three hours before the event. The stable results that had been achieved during the project enabled working under such force-majeure circumstances. Further, good communication strategies allowed Aigine to hold the final event on the highest level. The Great Hall of the Philharmonic could not even accommodate all the people who wanted to attend the event.
Among the significant changes that occurred as a result of the project include a serious change in the perception of blind people as well as attracting blind young talents to the work of the organization. At the moment, two of the blind participants of the project, Aziz and Nazgul, are working as interns at the center. The idea to start a new project also arose, where young blind people would get the opportunity to learn foreign languages and use the internet to communicate with peers of similar restrictions in other countries.
Results and Conclusions:
- People with disabilities should be a bigger focus of Aigine CRC, within the limits of the center’s mission, as well as the Soros-Kyrgyzstan Fund.
- The number of projects on different cultures should be increased, where people with disabilities as well as non-disabled people are involved. Such contact is necessary for the perception and attitude of these groups in a humane society.
- Cultural projects involving people with disabilities should be aimed at obtaining new skills and experiences that help with socializing.
- With the gained experience and the framework that exists in the south of the country, the same project could be implemented in Osh, in the southern branch of the boarding school for blind and visually impaired children.
- Describing the problem or situation
- What do NGOs do to address this problem
- What did the “Soros – Kyrgyzstan” Fund do to help solve the problem? (Grants, training, technical and consulting support, round-table discussions, providing e-mail and search for partners, etc.).
- What changes have occurred in the organization or community as a result of these activities? How many people are embracing these changes? Which benefits have resulted from the changes? During what period of time did the changes occur?
- 12 Komuz were produced according to Nurak Abdrakhmanov’s method. 10 Komuz were purchased for the project, two were donated by the organization “Ustat-Shakirt” and one by Aziza D., a co-worker of Aigine employee Cholpon Usubaliev-Gritshuk.
- An own komuz ensemble of ten people. The ensemble was already able to participate in school competitions and various festivities during the project
- 15 complete concert attires
- Success Story
- The problem: the extremely limited access of young visually impaired and blind people to the world of traditional music and the barely existing relationship between this group of young people and the non-disabled youth. Solutions to this problem were highlighted in all interim reports of Aigine CRC, in the timely provision of grants.
- In this section, we want to highlight the cumulative beneficiary: the boarding school for blind and visually impaired children in Bishkek. Visually impaired children from all northern regions of the country attend the school. In this sense, the project covered representatives of Talas oblast (two people), Naryn (… people), Issyk-Kul (… people), and Chuy (… people).
- We did not plan to have a cumulative beneficial, but in the course of receiving applications and selecting participants, it occurred naturally. And here lay a serious problem: mistrust on the part of the boarding school’s director to the representatives of non-governmental organizations and “project people”.
- The project initially had a high level of risk, because neither Aigine CRC nor music experts had previously worked with blind and visually impaired young people. Since most of the participants selected for the seminar were from the boarding school for blind and visually impaired children, we counted on the support from the school administration and staff. However, at the beginning of the project, the director and teachers of the boarding school reacted indifferently and did not show any interest towards the fact that their students would be trained to play the komuz. The first attempts to establish cooperation did not have any outcomes. As it turned out, the attitude had to do with the boarding school’s previous unsuccessful experiences with some NGOs and philanthropic groups.
- After the first meetings, when it became evident that the school administration would not contribute to the approved schedule of the project, and contact to the coordinators did not exist, the decision was made to hold a big meeting with the school management and project team. Our team came to the boarding school, lead by Nurak Abdrakhmanov, his assistants and the products of previous activities: the books on sacred sites and the video material on the “Manas” epic. These two factors- the presence of the great musician Nurak Abdrakhmanov, and the 67-hour digital version of “Manas”, broke the first ice and distrust of the boarding school’s director.