My usual activism is shown in trainings and seminars I conduct with the help of our team members. But I would like to tell you about Summer Leadership School (SLS) we organize every summer for children from orphanages, young people living with HIV and AIDS and activists from different communities. Every year we bring all of them together to share with them about their reproductive health and rights, gender equality, by raising their awareness about STIS, human trafficking, discrimination with an intention to built leadership skills. The amazing thing we get to see is them changing in that week. To see the hope in their eyes, To see them know their own potentiality, To see the friendship they build with each other, To their stronger personalities and how they are so confident in themselves, To hear them saying: “I thought HIV is transmitted through air. But now I know that being around HIV positive people is not dangerous, they are just people with weaker immunity”. Every year by the end of the school they come to understand these things. Every year there are more and more leaders in our communities, who want to change this world for the better.
6 years ago I was one of those kids: a girl, who knew nothing about HIV or what “reproductive health” meant. I wasn’t shy and closed, but I was different from who I am today. SLS made me realize I can do anything, whether it’s becoming a peer educator, trainer or receiving Presidential Scholarship to study abroad or being accepted to one of the world’s Top Universities in America.
Today I volunteer with Y-PEER network and organize SLS every single year, even though sometimes it’s hard to find funds, or hard to convince parents to allow their children to participate in the School or just physically hard to travel from one side of Kazakhstan to another but it is fun and great adventure on itself. All of us: young people just like you, we go to colleges, schools; we work, eat ice creams, watch movies and clean our houses. In addition to that we run SLS because we understand that for some of us this might be life turning point, it might save someone’s life because SLS provides so much useful information with so many fun things.. We keep doing this because it’s now our life. This is my life.
I used to think that charity and social work is for those, who ear a lot of money and can donate for the common good. But life isn’t about money, right? It’s about happiness that we bring to each other by smiling, talking, laughing… by telling the right information, by saying : “YOU. CAN. DO. ANYTHING”, which is so true. You can act, you can talk, you can change the world.