Sandugash’s story

“Knowing the challenges in society, we can only think of one solution. It is to educate the young women, to empower them and let them choose the best for themselves.”

 

Sandugash works as a student mentor with WONDER’s partner in Kazakhstan, the Kazakhstan Foundation for Cultural, Social and Educational Development (KFCSED). Her role is to support teenage girls and share her knowledge and skills, as part of the Mayak project.

 

She volunteered as a mentor in the program in order to empower the next generation of girls growing up in Kazakhstan.

 

“Knowing the challenges in society, we can only think of one solution. It is to educate the young women, to empower them and let them choose the best for themselves.” 

 

Due to the pandemic, mentoring sessions have now gone online. However, this has created an opportunity for women like Sandugash, who now lives in Germany, to support women in her home country. 

 

“Being away from where I came from, I enjoy being connected to the people there and bringing a positive impact to young mentees, and making new friendships,” she said.

 

Sandugash has been mentoring a girl who is currently in junior high school. Together, they discuss future opportunities such as what to study, how to choose a university, and what resources she can use to find study programs.

 

“I believe that my mentoring will help her feel confident and more focused on what’s important for her,” Sandugash said. “Her mother also mentioned that she was happy that her daughter now has a mentor to help orient her in this decision.”

 

In addition to discussing the future and her studies, they also discuss how to develop soft skills and stay motivated.

 

“I share stories of different people, on how they became who they are,” she said. “We brainstorm and talk about her strengths and weaknesses, we discuss various books and learning methods, and we have a great deal of fun.”

It’s a foundational knowledge that will shape her identity in healthy and profound ways.

Luckily, Sandugash and her mentee come from the same hometown in Kazakhstan. When Sandugash was able to take a trip home, she met her mentee in-person to connect.

 

“I’m grateful that we turned out to be from the same city, and I got to meet her and her mother too. I hope that this helped her to feel more open and relaxed next time we talk through the screen,” she said.

 

Overall, Sandugash feels the projects at at KFCSED help young women in Kazakhstan learn, grow and succeed.

 

“It’s a foundational knowledge that will shape her identity in healthy and profound ways,” Sandugash said. “The content of the project is incredibly important in our time and society: human rights, storytelling, debating, and other social and creative projects.”

 

“I’d like to say thank you to our funders and donors. You are helping one of the most impactful projects in Central Asia.”