Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund is looking for better ways to spend money

Senior news correspondent
The fund has invited non-governmental organizations from all over the country to take part in discussions of a new concept of the fund and share their ideas concerning what the targeted charity program should look like
Photo by Gani Umirbekov

So far, the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund has accumulated $269.7 million. The fund is going to spend this money on charity in the area of health, education, social support and sports. In order to achieve this goal with maximum efficacy, the fund has initiated an open discussion of a new concept of the fund’s development with NGOs.

Social alternatives

Some NGOs believe that the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund must be an active part of broad efforts in the field of social support for people. For example, the fund may support centers for social services where disabled and poor people can find shelter.

«I think we have to set alternative methods of providing social services. NGOs and private and civic associations that already provide such alternative services need help. Three civic associations are doing this job now, but we do not fit the standard of social services from the formal point of view. That is why we need Qazaqstan Halkyna to not duplicate the work of the government but support those who provide alternative methods of social services for elderly homeless people and people with mental health diseases,» said Shynar Zhalmukhamedova, head of the Stop Autism civic association.

This idea has been supported by other participants in the discussion. They suggested implementing the model of independent assisted living in social centers without pushing people to stay there if they do not want to do so.

According to Altynay Kobeeva, head of the Information Resource Center, the idea of a social center for old people who find themselves in a tough situation has been discussed for a long time in Almaty. In such a center people may live for two to three months for free to take some time to solve their problems. «Even a woman with a baby can’t stay in a crisis center if she is not a victim of domestic violence. Such a woman doesn’t fit any category. Moreover, conditions in such a center wouldn’t be good for a woman with a child,» Kobeeva said.

These centers may give shelter to retirees, veterans and those who are equal to these two groups.

In turn, Serikbek Elshibekov, a spokesperson of the fund said that this is a global problem. «Unfortunately, often old people with physical or mental health diseases may find themselves unwanted and without proper care. Even in Kazakhstan where local traditions require children to give care to their aging parents until the end, it happens anyway. Therefore, of course, we are ready to discuss this problem,» he noted.

Sport effect

Sergey Tsyrulnikov, a Kazakhstani strongman, world record-breaker and ambassador of the Ministry of Culture and Sport in Kazakhstan, suggested creating a new sports show on local TV broadcasting. He made this statement during a discussion of different projects in the field of sports. He’s asked the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund to support the project.

«In terms of popular sports shows on local TV, we have nothing. We just show international matches. At the same time, according to the experience of European countries and the U.S., we know how important this type of content is for shaping a child’s attitude towards sport. It helps him to get a proper understanding of sports. Unfortunately, we haven’t such content,» Tsyrulnikov said.

The sportsman is ready to produce such content on his own. However, it is not cheap. One episode of a show might cost about $8,300.

Tsyrulnokov also proposed the fund to think about another potential project called «100 Auls» (villages). The project is aimed at promoting sports among children in rural areas all over the country. As the record-breaker noted, many schools in rural areas face a shortage of even simple sports equipment. Tsyrulnikov has asked the fund to support the project. One aul needs just about $830 to buy some balls, sports outfits, etc.

Among other suggestions were improving play and sports grounds in neighborhoods, providing trainers for children diagnosed with autism and other mental health with special training and financing special Olympics sports for people with mental health challenges.

Cultural approach

Currently, the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund is focused solely on projects in the sphere of healthcare, education and sports, according to Elmira Aliyeva, head of the Help Today Foundation and a member of the Qazaq Halkyna Fund’s guardian council.

«As of today, there is no committee or experts in the fund who have the expertise to review applications in the field of culture. However, we have resolved to support projects in this area… What kind of fields can the fund choose to support charitable activities?» she asked during an online discussion of the new concept of the fund. Although there were no immediate responses, participants have confirmed that those who are involved in the sphere of culture have the lowest salaries.

Any cultural entity like theaters, museums and libraries may apply to the Qazaqstan Halkyna Fund for support if they have prepared a project and calculated its costs.

For example, Serik Nurmoldayev, deputy head of QazaqConcert named after Roza Baglanova asked the fund to support the project of a recording studio for symphonic orchestras. As the official noted, there are no similar studios in Kazakhstan because of a lack of financing. As a result, bands, orchestras and choruses, which have been working for decades, have no opportunity to record their concerts.

«We have a range of highly trained professionals who are involved in these orchestra and chorus activities. But what heritage will we leave for future generations? That is a question. We have listened to this music, developed it, and this music became a part of us, but what is going to be after us? We can’t record an orchestra or publish albums. We have some recording equipment, but we have no money to use it during a concert. This requires a lot of money and we can’t afford this,» he said. In order to solve the problem, Nurmoldayev suggests creating a recording studio based on the central concert hall in the city of Nur-Sultan.

Roza Karibzhanova, head of the Committee of Culture under the Ministry of Culture and Sport came up with the idea of a school card for visiting museums and theaters. This card might work exactly like the Pushkin Card in Russia. With the help of this card, pupils will be able to visit museums, concert halls, libraries and theaters. The project is aimed at promoting culture among children and teenagers. Another idea is to facilitate Kazakhstan’s show business on the international stage by assisting young talents and artists and musicians with disabilities.

The fund is going to reach more than one thousand NGOs all over the country through online meetings and questionnaires. The final concept of the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund must be announced at the National Charity Conference in September 2022.

«We have recorded every suggestion. I am glad that the professional community and NGOs are both talking about many things where the government is not so efficient,» Gulziya Bidatova, head of the projects and programs management center in the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund said after one of the meetings.

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