Two young people from Voenno-Antonovka Boarding School were able to set and achieve their goals with the support of a mentor

Aigerim and her mentees at the cinema.After participating in the Summer School of Democracy (SSD) last year, Aigerim Beknazarova was inspired to serve as a mentor to two young people from the Voenno –Antonovka Boarding School who were considered at risk for dropping out of school. The summer school was organized by, an IYF initiative in Kyrgyz Republic funded by USAID. Along with 28 other SSD participants, Aigerim was committed to improving the academic and personal achievements of her mentees, despite her busy schedule as the HR Executive Director of the Public TV and Radio Company.

Aigerim’s first mentee, Sarvinaz Muratjanov was not sure she trusted her new mentor until Aigerim told her they would work together until they felt they had met their goals. To begin building her relationship with Sarvinaz, Aigerim invited her to social events and arranged meetings for Sarvinaz with people who have had successful careers. They also visited public places together. As a result, said Aigerim, “Sarvinaz became more open, changed her attitude toward people who want to help her, and started to trust people.”

When Sarvinaz entered School #28 of Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, with a focus on medical studies, Aigerim helped her feel confident in preparing for her exams and set her goals for the future. Sarvinaz has now decided that after school, she wants to apply to the Medical University to become a pharmaceutical chemist. Aigerim also helped Sarvinaz to get free accommodations and food for two years.

Aigerim’s second mentee, Ruslan Puzikov, who according to his teachers had behavioral problems at school, always wanted to be an IT specialist. While his teachers did not support his career choice, Aigerim organized an internship for him at a local company. He recently entered the College of Computer Technologies in Bishkek, which provides for his accommodations and lunch. “I have found that everything is possible,” says Ruslan, who now plans to be a software programmer.

Aigerim says she gained a lot from her experience and wants to continue to volunteer and help young people set goals. “It is better to know the person well, gain some authority, and talk with them. I learned to overcome my fears and be patient. It was a mutually beneficial experience.”