For many children in the 40 new unregistered migrant settlements outside of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, access to school is restricted by poverty and a lack of legal residency. Mamasabyt Raiyimberdy uulu is one of these children. At 13, he was illiterate and had never attended school because he needed to work in the bazaar to make money for his family. To add to the meager wages his mother earned by selling bananas, Mamasabyt needed to earn about $4 per day, which he did by collecting and selling used boxes.
To reach out to kids like Mamasabyt, USAID has started providing small grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in these settlement areas. One of the 10 participating NGOs, the Councils for Human Rights, organized a two-month Summer Education Camp for 21 school dropouts from six new settlements around Bishkek. These camps aimed to provide access to a friendly learning environment for children from socially vulnerable families, as well as to create a positive environment for studying, playing sports, helping each other and making friends.
Kanybek Imankulov, a father of four, owns 45 hectares of non-irrigable land in Luxembourg village in northern Kyrgyzstan. A farmer since 1995, Imankulov grew mostly field crop -alfalfa, cereals, and corn-but had unimpressive results. Though average crop yields should have been around 4 metric tons per hectare, he only produced around half that.
One-year-old Aidana had been sick for some time. Aileta, her mother, thought it was simply a cold. Then early one morning, the child developed a high temperature. Aidana’s breathing appeared to stop and she lost consciousness and became pale. Panicking, Aileta called an ambulance. The closest children’s hospital was 15 minutes away.
Jyldyz was among the first students to take the National Scholarship Test in Kyrgyzstan. When she learned that she received one of the highest scores, Jyldyz’s first thought was of her best friend Aisuluu, who graduated from the same remote village school a year earlier.
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country where only seven percent of the land is suitable for agriculture. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the previous collective farms were privatized among the communities, splitting the land into 0.04-0.20 hectare (.09 - .49 acre) allotments per person.
Last updated: February 19, 2014