NUR-SULTAN – 2020 was declared the Year of Volunteers in Kazakhstan. This year, volunteers have had to work in exceptional circumstances due to the pandemic outbreak.
As of Jan. 2020, more than 50,000 people have been involved in volunteer activities in the country. This time, people united across the country to help frontline workers while they did their duties – starting back in March.
Age is no obstacle to good deeds, as proven by Almaty resident Ilya Kan, 16, who wanted to make his own contribution to the fight against COVID-19. Kan initiated the Teaching for Heroes (TFH) social project to provide free online English classes for children of doctors, policemen and children from low-income families.
“Today, each medical worker is our hero standing at the forefront every day of the great war on the virus,” says the main slogan on the TFH website.
Children from eight to 16 years of age can practice their English speaking skills with top-class teachers on the TFH online platform. The project was supported by students and graduates of leading schools and universities in Kazakhstan, the United States, Great Britain and other countries.
The platform has currently attracted 1,600 students and 800 volunteers. Students can find an inspiring mentor based on their preferences in sports, art, travel or medicine. The website connects students and teachers providing both parties with a flexible schedule and a convenient booking system.
Now the volunteers can also teach children whose parents are medical health workers working abroad in Russia.
“The project was launched on July 5. To be honest, when I started it, I did not expect the project to grow so fast. My development plan expected a maximum of 200 volunteers and a few students, but in the first couple of weeks we already had 800 volunteers,” Kan told The Astana Times.
Initially, Kan worked with his friends and then people who wanted to share their experience offered their help and joined the project. Now the team includes 16 people who work with hospitals, teachers and manage social media.
“This year I finished my second year of study at Milton Academy in the United States. When I came back to Almaty, I met Akmaral, a nurse, who consulted me during the lockdown in March. She told me that she has a son and that she wants him to learn English too. This inspired me to create a platform where children of healthcare workers could take English lessons for free. I wanted to express my gratitude for the hard work that doctors and nurses are doing these days,” he said.
The group Dobro (Kindness) Nur-Sultan in cooperation with the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and the non-governmental organization launched the Help for Doctors campaign, reported the press service of the city’s administration.
Volunteers take hospital mobile teams with doctors and nurses to patients who take treatment at home and deliver free medicines and groceries to the elderly people during lockdown.
“The Dobro Nur-Sultan team currently has 60 volunteers and 60 volunteers with cars. Every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. they drive with doctors on calls to deliver food and school supplies. We also daily deliver hot meals and drinks to doctors,” said Adema Yesembayeva, the head of the Dobro Nur-Sultan initiative group of volunteers.
Also, volunteers take care of children, clean up garbage, build housing for low-income families raising children with disabilities, and purchase medicines for those in need.
The volunteer organization was founded in 2018. Information about their campaigns and events can be found on their Instagram @dobro.qz.