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Family, Entrepreneurship and School Volunteers - transforming the reality of youth and families

“The training course at the Ofri Center was very rich and useful. Almost every day, there were field trips to social institutions. Every day I discovered new ideas for myself and my country…When I saw ‘Parenting Meaningful Center’ in Ashdod I thought to myself ‘I want such center in Kyrgyzstan’… After two weeks I returned  from Israel, the ‘DANAKER’ Center for strengthening families was opened.”

Nargiza Konushalieva, the current Executive Director and one of the founders of “DANAKER” - Center for strengthening families & an alumni of the The Aharon Ofri MASHAV International Educational Training Center, has been transforming the reality of youth and families in Kyrgyzstan by leading a variety of social initiatives since her return from Israel. In this article, we want to share the amazing initiatives she is leading together with many great people in Kyrgyzstan.

“DANAKER” - Center for strengthening families

The “Danaker” center develops special programs, lectures, trainings, conferences and individual consultations. At the center, parents acquire skills that help them reduce the threats in the development of the child and increase opportunities for harmonious development by strengthening their own authority and the ability to support and understand children.

The mission of the center is to support the strengthening of the family institution through the provision of socio-psychological, legal assistance and prevention of social orphanhood.

According to Nargiza, there is a variety of activities in the center dealing with real challenges of today parenthood. For example, “we regularly conduct trainings for parents on effective communication with children, about healthy relationship for young people and self-help groups for women”. As it can be seen in the quote at the beginning of this article, the idea of creating and developing such a center was influenced by Nargiza experience in Israel.

“Kids Up – Entrepreneurs children” Project

This initiative started approximately 4 month ago, when young volunteers from different spheres join together and decided to develop kid’s entrepreneurship skills through a unique initiative.

Every Sunday the "KIDS UP - Entrepreneurs’ children" fair is open. In this fair, children & teenagers present and sell products made by their own hands. According to Nargiza “in addition to the fair, we expose them to a variety of trainings in topics related to Entrepreneurship, we have master classes with successful people and we go on unique trips to different enterprises”.

Nargiza also explained the surprising process of development of this initiative: “‘KIDS UP’ fair started in Karakol city, and thanks to its huge success, we now open the ‘KIDS UP’ fair also in Bishkek. Hopefully, we will succeed to hold it all over Kyrgyzstan. So far, 150 entrepreneur children & teenagers and 30 volunteers have participated in our fairs”.

School Volunteer Project

“During the training course at the Ofri Center, I had the idea of developing the ‘big pupil’s volunteer movement’ in Kyrgyz Republic. After seeing the volunteer model in Israel schools, I had a great example of how it could look like…”

On June 30th, 2017 the “School Volunteer”project was launched. From the first moment, this project aroused great public interest. The project aims to develop a culture of volunteerism and social activism among youth, together with the creation of a rich professional orientation platform.

According to Nargiza, this project includes a variety of activities for youth: “We plan to expose the students to different social spheres, to the business world & to state organizations. During our program, the students will be part of unique encounters with guest lectures -which will include successful people from different professions- and interesting trips to leading organizations. In our program, the students will have the opportunity to implement their own social initiatives and to volunteer in a variety of organizations, developing leadership and many other important skills”. The "School Volunteer" initiative, was initiated under the sponsorship of the online community "Social Work on the Silk Road" and "Danaker" Center for Strengthening Families.

The first activity in this initiative, was a very interesting encounter with 2 guests who are successful businessmen:  Tilek Toktogaziev, founder of the agricultural holding "Zhashyl ​​Charba" and Ulan Tashtanbekov, founder of the workshop "Tengri.kg", who specializes on manufacturing stylish bags from leather. Nargiza shared that “Because we wanted to give volunteers an understanding of the entrepreneurship world, the guests talked about their field and managed to motivate school children to do what each of them truly like & believe, giving us an example of how this can be transformed into a successful business”. This encounter finished with a short training on social projects developing.

The “School Volunteer” project includes 30 students from grades 9, 10 & 11. The participants were chosen from a group of 90 students that apply for this project. The goal is to involve every interested student in the project.

Until now, this initiative had a very positive feedback: many journalists are interested in it and already start interviewing the people involved; and many students from other cities heard about the project, and start asking when it will be open in another areas of the country. 

We want to thank our Alumni, Nargiza Konushalieva from Kyrgyzstan, for the great initiatives she is leading and for sharing them with us! Thank you for inspiring us and for creating with your knowledge initiatives that can transform your community and Country.

We invite all our alumni to share with us your unique initiative and projects!

Ariel Cegla -  Training Development Officer

The Aharon Ofri MASHAV International Educational Training Center – Jerusalem