UN & Me Exhibition Sheds Light on Inspiring Stories of Kazakh Citizens

ASTANA—The United Nations (UN) in Kazakhstan unveiled the UN & Me photo exhibition in Astana on April 5. The exhibition showcases 30 captivating tales of ordinary Kazakh citizens whose resilience, determination, and commitment to a brighter future have not only reshaped their own lives but also contributed to sustainable development.

Michaela Friberg-Storey UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan. Photo credit: UN in Kazakhstan

From students to doctors, entrepreneurs to policymakers and civil society representatives to agriculture experts, each story presented echoes the strength of the human spirit and the significance of global support. For over 30 years, the UN has been involved in various initiatives and projects in Kazakhstan.

“UN & Me is not just about the United Nations, it’s about us, about every individual who contributes to the common good of the world. Exhibitions like this are crucial reminders of the incredible resilience and strength of the human spirit, inspiring us to continue working towards a more just, equitable and sustainable world,” said Michaela Friberg-Storey, UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan.

Among the heroes of the exhibition is Jamilya Sadykova, head of the national coalition called For a Smoke-Free Kazakhstan. Since 2007, her ​​NGO achieved a 9% decline in smoking rates and contributed to the ban on smokeless tobacco. Currently, the total ban on the vapes, liquids, and flavorings market is in the process of being implemented, with widespread support.

Jamilya Sadykova. Photo credit: UN in Kazakhstan

“This exhibition is very inspiring. The organization is accumulating the experience of different people from different fields, ages, and genders to inspire people and to show that you can overcome, you can break through. As a person who has been working in public health for many years, I feel that this is a unique source of inspiration and a good example of the future of our country,” Sadykova told The Astana Times.

According to Sadykova, Kazakhstan will be the third country, after Thailand and Singapore, to enact a complete vaping ban to curb the vaping epidemic among children.

Aslan Temirkhan. Photo credit: UN in Kazakhstan

“This event means a lot to me because I do volunteer work in a sector of public health. I work with young people, and I think these events help us understand and realize that our work is valued and being seen. It’s important to get some sort of appreciation when you work as a volunteer,” said Aslan Temirkan, a Y-PEER volunteer and family physician, in a comment for this story. 

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