Real lives











How Erkin from a Youth Centre Has Solved the Water Supply Problem in his Village

© UNICEF/Kyrgyzstan
ErkinJapashevnear the 10 tonne water storage tank and a water filter which were purchased for his village upon his own initiative and efforts

Erkin is the youngest man in his family, and has five brothers and four sisters. Maybe that is why, according to his friends and loved ones,Erkin was a hooligan in his village, and all his peers at school were afraid of him. After school he stayed in the village, and began to help around the house, while still of school age he began to drink, smoke and misbehave around the village. In the village he was known as a young bandit who could not be brought to his senses. He traded walnuts which he grew on his land for a living. But this business landed him in prison.

After prison, he understood that life could not go on the same way, and he began to actively participate in sessions and meetings of village elders and youth. At the beginning of 2011, he was elected chair of the KyzKol sub-district youth council. His strong will was to solve the most a, cute problem in the village – a lack of access to drinking water. Villagers take their water from a clean spring located at the top of the village, where the walnut forest begins. Water was carried in buckets and on donkeys. That work took up a lot of time, and was usually done by children and women.

Previously, in 2009 villages he raised these issues and tried to buy materials and bring water to every house in order not to have to bring it from the spring, but this proved very expensive, and appeals to the local authorities for support remained unanswered. Villagers did not take the matter further as they were used to it. Their ancestors had been carrying water in this way for generations. The people did not want any change.

Still, Erkindid not give up. In autumn 2011, having heard about the opening of the Suzak district youth centre, Erkin signed up for a computer course and became its active member. He began to involve schoolchildren and other young people from his village with the centre. Soon, he also noted that the centre’s slogan “Start change with yourself” led to changes in views on life in general.

On visiting the centre and understanding its remoteness from his village, Erkin began to plan and reveal the problems of his village. Seeing the value of the centre he had the idea of opening an information centre in his village, modeled on the district youth centre, where young people could also take part in similar courses and training. After the training, Erkin created a plan to resolve the village’s problems:

1) The drinking water problem

2) Lack of an information centre in the village

3) Night lighting

4) Lack of a sports complex in the village

Of these problems, he has managed to resolve the drinking water problem. After many requests, he arranged to meet the parliamentarian B. Torobaev, and after written requests, the parliamentarian has provided assistance for the purchase of hose pipes to bring water from the spring. He bought 1360 metres of hosepipe and turned to the village inhabitants themselves. In spring 2012, gathering the village residents, Erkin managed to persuade them to contribute 2000 som per family. In this way he collected 80,000 som, and one resident sponsored the purchase of a 10 tonne water storage tank and a water filter, and for 30,000 som he hired workers to dig the ditch for the pipe. As of now, water has been brought to 50 homes, and additional standpipes have been installed every 150m along the road.  Residents helped to install and connect the hosepipes. Since the problem was resolved, women and children are happy and have expressed sincere gratitude to Erkin, as in general water was carried by women and children in buckets and on donkeys for many years.

In the words of village elder BerdalyMamashev, Erkin has done something unbelievable for the village, as no villagers thought that this year they would be able to drink water from nearby taps. After resolving the problem, the inhabitants of Kadu village organized a meeting and elected ErkinJapashev the biiof the village (a biiis an organizer of village activities). In addition, with the remainder of the 80,000 som, villagers agreed to support Erkin’s idea to hire a plumber to oversee the installation of pipes for a monthly contribution of 1,500 som. And in order not to collect this money from villagers, it was decided to put the remaining 25,000 som in a bank account, and take 1,500 som out every month.

Now Erkin is planning to open an information centre for the young people of the village. Currently if villagers need to make copies of any documents they have to travel 50 kilometres to the city. Usually residents ask local taxi drivers to do the copying, and they ask for 50 soms (1.2 dollars) to copy one or two documents. Opening the informational centre will resolve a range of problems such as printing, copying documents to train young people, computer skills and other courses and training. He also has plans to install street lamps on poles for night lighting. None of his villages now has any doubt, that these plans will soon be a reality.



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