“If you want to change others, start with yourself”

Aizhamal Arstanbek-kyzy, Kyrgyzstan







Aizhamal Arstanbek-kyzy participated in the Regional Youth Empowerment Project in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. This helped her express her opinions and defend her decisions in front of relatives.

Adult Education and Development: What was the ­project about?

Aizhamal Arstanbek-kyzy: Today young people must be comprehensively developed and versatile, but unfortunately the percentage of such active young people in the Central Asian region is very small. Young people have hidden talents, but they cannot develop them into their strengths and use them. Among young people there are few people who can serve as an example and guide young people.

The “Central Asian Regional Youth Empowerment Project” included training on the most relevant and necessary topics for young people. In addition to the theory, it included a practical component. Compared to other short-time training, this programme lasted almost a year. The project helped to solve problems and helped us discover our hidden qualities and talents that were in “sleeping mode” inside of us. I myself went through all these stages.

Why did you participate in the project?

I decided to participate in the project because I wanted to defeat an opponent inside of me who thought only of herself, and not about society. There is a saying, if you want to change others, start these changes with yourself. Participating in such a good project, I expanded my circle of friends and acquaintances. I wanted to be as successful as other participants and trainers on the project, whom I met during the project implementation.

How can self-confidence be taught based on your ex­perience in this project?

Self-confidence increases only when you learn to have success. After I achieved certain results – with every new challenge, I asked myself the question “Why can’t I do it? I just managed a similar challenge yesterday! Every new challenge is a new opportunity for the next success!” This strengthened my belief in myself. Of course, there will be ­obstacles, but once defeated, they will teach us to be patient and continue to strive to achieve our goals. So I also used this method: despite difficulties and obstacles not to be afraid and go ahead.

Do you think differently about your community now – and if so, why?

Yes, I started to think differently about my community. Changes in my community started with my friends asking: “Aizhamal, how do you manage to participate in other events and projects after the lessons? How are you not afraid of the risks that arise? Despite the fact that you are ‘wearing a scarf’, your day isn’t a waste and boring – how do you do that?” After these questions, my desire to strive forward only grows and becomes even stronger.

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