"Heroes of Children": UNICEF photo exhibition in Nur Sultan
Exhibition dedicated to the 75th anniversary of UNICEF
The photo exhibition is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the world, as well as the Year of Children in Kazakhstan. Here are the portraits and stories of more than 30 heroes who, together with UNICEF, work tirelessly to protect, promote and respect for children's rights, as well as ensure equal opportunities for every child in Kazakhstan. Among the exhibition heroes, there are teachers, doctors, youth, scientists, volunteers and civic activists who have joined forces with UNICEF to support the most vulnerable children and families in difficult life situations. They live among us, and day after day, they work to ensure that every child has the right to a happy childhood.
"We give children the opportunity to experience another world, the world of digital technology, limitless possibilities and knowledge."
Ilyas began teaching people with visual impairments in 2014. Thanks to his contribution to the project “Development of Digital Skills for Adolescents with Visual Disabilities”, 25 visually impaired children have learned how to use a computer and a smartphone, text in messengers and use a navigator to move around the city.
Aida has been living with an open HIV status since the age of 13. She has been involved in a project to reduce HIV stigma in schools and was a trainer in the first support group for HIV positive adolescents in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. On behalf of the community, Aida talks about what people living with HIV face and what they go through after revealing their status.
Together with UNICEF, Alexander implemented the project “Child Friendly Justice” in Mangystau region. Thanks to this project, employees of the Meirym Public Foundation were able to help equip the offices of investigators working with children. During the period of the center's work, specialists and employees of the PF "Meirym" helped more than 500 children from different districts of the city of Aktau.
“Not only people help the project to be realized, but the project also helps people reach a new qualitative level of civil society”
Thanks to Alexandra’s contribution, the “Accessible Kazakhstan” map became available to the residents of Pavlodar, and then to the whole country. By clicking on an object, you can find out how accessible it is for people with disabilities. Alexandra, as the main moderator of the map, daily reviews and checks photos of locations uploaded by volunteers.
“The volunteer program has a very good influence on a person, not only in terms of experience, but also psychologically: you just destroy some barriers that used to stand in front of you”
In 2020 Altynai participated in the UNICEF BeKind volunteer program, and in the summer of 2021, she decided to become a volunteer administrator in the BeGreen Kazakhstan program, where she was telling schoolchildren about climate change and conscious consumption.
“I consider the results of volunteers in the implementation of their own projects to be my main achievement!”, - Marina.
For almost 3 years, the Lutoshkin family has been participating in volunteer projects and implementing their own social projects, attracting volunteers to help elderly people and children in difficult life situations.
“Working in the social sector is a very big job that requires attention, concentration and a big heart. All those who decided to do this work are responsible not only for themselves, but also for people to whom they carry their kindness and pure heart,” - Andrey.
“The pilot project showed that the new patronage model can significantly affect the quality of child care in the family, effectively form positive parenting skills, and contribute to the health, development and safety of children”
As part of the UNICEF pilot project "Universal-progressive model of patronage for pregnant women, newborns and young children", Bayan conducted about 30 trainings and trained more than 500 nurses, doctors and managers. Thanks to Bayan's contribution, the "Universal-progressive model of patronage for pregnant women, newborns and young children" was included in the state program and is now the basis of work with children at the primary health care level.
Boris participated in the Vlast.kz project “Vaccination”, dedicated to the myths about vaccination, as a scientific consultant. Boris devoted most of his life to fighting infections.
“The work of Medsupport is the work of volunteers, caring scientists, doctors, students, professionals in various fields who just want to help people and make our society and country a little bit better.”
Botagoz and the Medsupport Foundation began writing about routine childhood vaccinations back in 2020. The foundation’s work reached its peak when the first batches of COVID-19 vaccines began to arrive in Kazakhstan. Medsupport wrote posts, articles and made videos about routine vaccination, and even created the EGU.KZ website about routine childhood vaccination with the support of UNICEF.
Daniil plans to install air purification filters around the city, placing them in especially significant places: bus stops, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, kindergartens, schools. Daniil turned this idea into a real project in the Samgau UPSHIFT program after winning a grant to implement the project. His friends help him creating the filters.
“I’m happy that I could be useful to children, share information about environmental thinking with them”
In autumn 2021 Diana became an online volunteer of the UNICEF BeGreen Kazakhstan program. Diana learned the methods of teaching environmental literacy to the younger generation and gave online lessons for students in the seventh and tenth grades. Diana's efforts were aimed at developing "green" skills in the audience and talking about conscious consumption.
“Now I can move around on my own without the help of adults. I am very happy about it!”
In 2021 Eldar decided to participate in the Samgau UPSHIFT program and received a grant to further develop his project. He was able to create a wheelchair scooter that can be used by people with disabilities, elderly, parents with strollers and people who need to carry a small load.
"The future is in the hands of educated youth!"
Fatima decided to participate in the Samgau UPSHIFT adolescent and youth skills development program and created ZhasStar, an educational project in Kazakh language for youth to develop leadership skills and media literacy. More than 300 teenagers aged 14 to 18 took part in the project.
“I always try to learn from best practices abroad and near abroad in child protection work”
With the support of UNICEF, Gaziza assisted 111 children in migration processes, 51 of them received documents. Thanks to the efforts of the Rodnik Foundation, 41 children were assigned to medical institutions, and 21 children were able to go to school.
In the process of implementing the programs "IMCI", "UPMPS" Gul trained 1165 specialists, including 334 doctors, 770 paramedical workers, 58 social workers and 3 psychologists. As a result of the introduction of this program, a decrease in mortality, morbidity, and disability in children under 5 years of age was recorded.
"My mission is to professionally contribute to the well-being of every child, especially those in need of help."
Irina contributed to the implementation of the best international practices for the protection of children's rights in the justice system, including the creation of special waiting rooms for children in court. By 2017, courts had “green” rooms for accused children and “sunny” rooms for child victims and young children.
“It’s my profession. That’s how I have to help”
Kanymkul has been convincing parents to accept vaccinations for a quarter of a century. She usually manages to convince more than half of the ten people who refuse vaccinations.
“Don't put off working on your dream until later. It is better to move forward gradually and encourage others on their way to success.” Leila is a graduate of the UniSat program. Together with the team, she designed the nanosatellite, assembled all its parts, and launched the nanosatellite into the stratosphere.
“We rejoice at even the smallest results of a child. If he did not know how to hold an object in his hands and now he is trying to hold it. If he could not raise his head, but now he holds it for a few seconds. This is a big success for us”
Mayra is a social worker. She supports families that are in difficult life situations and is engaged in the prevention of conflict situations in the family. The main tasks of the social service center are: teaching self-service skills, socialization and integration of the child into society.
“I am proud for the creation of the Early Intervention service, which provides comprehensive assistance to children with developmental pathologies, children at risk from birth to 3 years old.”
Maira created the "Early Intervention" service, whose specialists socially adapted more than 300 children with severe pathologies, including cerebral palsy and genetic anomalies of combined forms. For almost 30 years of activity of the Kenes Centre under the leadership of Mayra, Kenes has significantly influenced the social policy towards children with developmental pathologies, thanks to which thousands of children with neuropsychiatric pathologies live in families.
Rakhim has been living with an open HIV status for 2 years now. He participated in focus groups on the Guidelines for reducing HIV stigma and discrimination in schools for teachers, and the Guidelines for self-management of chronic illnesses for adolescents and children living with HIV.
"The program provided all the kids in the project with effective support and protection of the rights of children in migration processes."
With the support of UNICEF, Raushan implemented the project "Protection of children in migration processes in the city of Shymkent and the Turkestan region." The project covers 90 children in difficult life situations. Of these, 61 children received documents, 15 children were returned to their homeland, 10 children were reunited with their families.
“With more than 30 years of experience in the human rights field at the national and international level, despite any difficulties and obstacles that we face, I always stand up for my principles as a human rights defender.”
Roza has been engaged in human rights activities and issues related to the protection of children's rights since 1993. Together with UNICEF, Roza participated in projects on “Transforming the work of schools for children with deviant behavior and expanding services for children and their families in contact with the law”, as well as in “Strengthening the system for protecting the rights of children in migration processes”.
School-gymnasium #83 follows the principles of inclusive education and creates the same conditions for all children, regardless of their physical or mental characteristics. Saule also created a team of teachers at school who work in inclusive classrooms and included adaptive sports in the school curriculum.
Sholpan developed the concept for Kazakhstan “Child Friendly City”, participated in the projects “A child should live in a family”, “Mentorship for orphans and children left without parental care”, “Family Support Center” and many others. Sholpan also contributed to the transformation of an orphanage in Almaty into a Family and Childhood Support Center.
Sofia is a graduate of the “Digital Skills for Visually Impaired Adolescents” course and a participant in the Samgau UPSHIFT mentoring program. During the course Sofia created her own project "Give a paw" to support homeless animals in Almaty.
In 2020-2021 the private foundation "Just Support" together with UNICEF developed the project "Prevention of violence against children in families and strengthening of parenting skills". During the project, Svetlana and her team trained 28 specialists who subsequently helped 635 families improve their relationship with their children.
“Kovcheg has been helping children left without parental care for 21 years”.
In 2018, Tatyana, along with other employees of Kovcheg, entered the project to deinstitutionalize institutions for children left without parents. Tatiana prepared 2 modules for this project. The first was aimed at the selection and training of candidates for foster parents, and the second was focused on social support for families and children in difficult life situations. Both modules were written by Tatyana in collaboration with the Public Foundation “Family Academy”.
“There is a volunteer behind every number”
Tatyana has been volunteering since the age of 17. Tatyana and the team of the National Volunteer Network with the support of UNICEF have been training volunteers in all regions of Kazakhstan to participate in prevention of bullying and cyberbullying for children and adolescents, environmental projects and children's rights clubs, and conduct online classes for schoolchildren.
"Education for all is my life principle, and therefore my mission is to train highly qualified ICT specialists to strengthen the economic development and sustainability of our country."
Evgenia contributed to the opening of the first innovation laboratory based at MUIT and aimed at developing and integrating information technology solutions to improve the quality of life for children. With the direct support of Evgenia an inclusive blended course for teachers of primary and secondary schools was created and more than 5,000 teachers from 6 regions have successfully completed the course and are applying their knowledge in practice.
The heroes whose portraits are presented at the exhibition are only a small part of the hundreds and thousands of people who work every day for the benefit of children. Through this exhibition, UNICEF would like to celebrate each and every one promoting and defending the rights of the child.