Natalya Karageur: Kazakhs and Bulgarians are similar in hospitality and generosity

As it is known, Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev in his recent State of the Nation Address declared 2019 year as Year of Youth. To date, Kazakhstan has brought up a network of successful young people who actively participate in the life of the country. What is the life of today's young people, what is their passion and what projects do they do?

Natalia Karageur, the head of the capital city headquarters of the Republican Youth Movement "Zhangyru Zholy" of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan, deputy head of "Bulgarian Cultural Centre "Zlata", a bright representative of youth told about it and shared future plans in the interview to our website.

—Could you tell us about yourself, what do you do?

—Last year we all celebrated the 20th anniversary of our capital. Astana has become a center of peace and consent, a place where dreams come true. These words became a reality for me. I came to our capital as a young specialist, passed the way of professional activity from the position of assistant psychologist to the Head of service in the system of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools. It was always interesting for me to study something new, to develop, therefore the next stage for me was opening of the school of additional education for children. It was a very interesting and difficult stage, my first experience of running a small business. And now I am a development director in a large company.

Self-development and self-education is an important part of my life. It sounds obvious, but 24 hours a day are really not enough to catch up on a lot of things. At the moment I am undergoing MBA training. I also try to devote time to my scientific activity. For more than 10 years I have been studying the intellectual potential of a person.  Now we have developed a programme of memory training, speed-reading and mnemotechnics for managers. It is a very interesting job. Adults achieve significant results, for example, one of my oldest students (56 years old) has achieved a reading speed of three thousand words per minute with a full understanding of what has been read, which is 15-20 times the average reading speed of an adult.

—You are the head of the capital city headquarters of the Republican youth movement "Zhangyru Zholy" of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan. Could you tell us about your activities? How did it begin?

—Youth movement of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan "Zhangyru Zholy" was established not so long ago – on March 15, 2018. There has certainly been youth work in the Assembly before that point. And since the organization of Republican Youth Movement "Zhangyru Zholy" designed to become a consolidating platform for interaction between young people of different ethnicities at the regional and national levels, there are even greater opportunities for the implementation of our plans and ideas.

How can young people join the youth movement "Zhangyru Zholy", are there any requirements or conditions?

—The Republican Youth Movement of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan "Zhangyru Zholy" is a voluntary movement. Its goal is to consolidate the youth in support of the policy of the President - Chairman of the Assembly Nursultan Nazarbayev, the activities of APK to strengthen public consensus. Everyone can join it. Members of our youth movement are not only representatives of ethno-cultural associations, but also active young people, students, young entrepreneurs, sportsmen, public figures.

—What activities have you carried out as Chief of Staff?

—Assembly of the capital is implementing interesting projects aimed at supporting young people. And these projects are often offered by our young people themselves. We have an annual youth forum "Ya - kazakhstanets!" (I am a Kazakhstan citizen), which has become a platform for the presentation of our leaders’ projects, which today have become the drivers of the Assembly's ideas among young people. Also, an annual contest for knowledge of the state language, an international ethnic fashion marathon, a contest for young journalists covering the topic of public consent, charitable activities and creative festivals are held.

What projects with young people are being implemented or planned?

—Our movement is quite young, but we already have some success. The youth movement "Zhangyru Zholy" within the framework of the large-scale programme "Rukhani Zhangyru", shows its activity, participating in the implementation of the state policy aimed at revival, preservation of national culture.

Within the framework of the historical and ecological project of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan "Sacred heritage Uly Dala Eli", the youth of Astana visited significant places that connect us with the cultural and spiritual heritage of our ancestors. We have visited the land of Akmola region and visited the burial places of the greatest people known to every citizen of Kazakhstan. This is akyn and composer Birzhan Sal, whose works constitute the golden fund of classical folk music. We have visited Bulandinsky district, where one more greatest representative of the Kazakh people – Baluan Sholak, a famous fighter is buried. However, he is known not only for his physical strength. He was a talented akyn and a composer, a protector of the poor and needy.

Another large-scale project in which young people of Astana take an active part is "Qazaqtanu" project. The project is aimed at popularization of culture, language, history, ethics, peculiarities of everyday life of Kazakh people. So, last summer youth camp of APK in Almaty region, representatives of various ethnic groups got acquainted with traditions of the Kazakh people. Girls have learned the technology of preparation of “kurt” (traditional Kazakh snack made from dried salty cheese), beginning from preparation of correct leaven of milk to formation of ideally round form of a ready product. The young men learned all the basics of installing a yurt, learned the rules of raising shanyrak and covering kerege with felt. The project "Qazaqtanu" gives us, young people of different ethnicities, an opportunity to plunge into the richness of Kazakh culture, to understand the centuries-old philosophy of nomadic people, the philosophy of "circle without sharp corners", repeating the structure of the yurt. Secret of unity and consent of the people of Kazakhstan lies in these subtleties. And we – the youth of Assembly of people of Kazakhstan aspire to know the history of our people, to preserve and bring it to every young person of our country.

The announcement of the Year of Youth gives us great opportunities, but also imposes great responsibility. "Zhangyru Zholy" movement plans new and interesting formats of events, to take part in the decision of social questions of youth. It is planned to travel to the regions to study the sacred places of our homeland, these are youth field schools, camps and seminars to teach young people the basics of leadership, modern management and communication tools.

Last year our capital assembly received the House of Friendship from Mangistau region as a gift. Over time, we would like to organize there a youth co-working center, an informal environment that will create a collaborative environment for the implementation of plans and new ideas. We hope that such a platform will allow us to involve even more young people from the capital in the Assembly's work.

—How would you identify the main problems of today's youth?

—At all times, the problems of young people have been of great importance; this is the social layer on which the future of the country, the people and the world as a whole depends. Of course, there are issues in the social sphere, education, health care. The state pays great attention to these areas – special youth programmes and road maps are being created. Now the average age in Kazakhstan, according to statistics is about 30 years. For the time being, we consider the so-called "millennials", "generation Z" to be the category of young people. These are young people who were born in the digital world and can no longer imagine life without the Internet and digital gadgets. On the one hand, this is a huge opportunity, and on the other hand, it is very easy for a young person who does not have even more experience in life to get lost in a huge stream, a web of information, to choose what you need, to find yourself – it is very difficult. Young people have a huge potential and talent, which is very important to see and direct in a positive way.

—You are also the Deputy Head of the Bulgarian Cultural Centre "Zlata". Could you tell us please about the centre? What activities are held in the centre?

—Our centre was established in 2011. At the moment, there are not so many people in the centre, because there are not so many Bulgarians living in Astana, about 100 people. But we are constantly growing. The centre unites many different ethnic groups, not only Bulgarians. These are all those who are interested in the culture, history and language of the Bulgarian people. Children's and adult vocal groups, choreographic ensemble function at the centre. Our creative teams take part in many city and republican concerts and charity events.

It is very interesting for me to study the history of the Bulgarian people. Though now we conditionally think that Bulgarians are Slavs, Kazakhs and Bulgarians have same ancestors – Kipchaks. Therefore, Bulgarians and Kazakhs, as well as other Turkic people, have a lot in common in traditions and culture. A holiday of New Year is also celebrated in Bulgaria in March, it is a holiday of spring and renewal, we also celebrate similar holiday – Nauryz meiramy. There are also a lot of similar ornaments in the decoration of the National Clothing, these are mainly floral patterns and beautiful massive women's jewelry. Even the language has similar words.

Of course, there are many differences between Kazakhs and Bulgarians. But the most important thing that unites us are generosity and hospitality.

—Is there international cooperation with Bulgarian organizations?

—We are in contact with the Bulgarian Embassy in Kazakhstan. The Embassy assists us with literature in Bulgarian language, advises on national traditions, culture and language issues. Representatives of the Embassy often come to the events, performances of our center. It is as a part of Bulgaria for them, they communicate with members of our community and youth warmly and kindly. In addition, we keep in touch with our compatriots who are currently working or studying in Bulgaria. There are various training programs and internships. For us it is interesting and useful – to have an opportunity to visit the homeland of historical ancestors, learn from the experience of another country and apply the best at home.

–What does the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan mean to you?

—The Assembly of people of Kazakhstan is, as our President always says, 18 million Kazakhstanis! It is a unique big "family" with different characters, different habits, traditions, but very friendly and always sincerely ready to help each other.  And I really want my children to cook kozhe in Nauryz, bake pancakes for Maslennitsa, visit friends at weekends for Uzbek pilaf, meet friends in a Uighur cafe, and in the evenings drink tea with Turkish baklava, just like we do now!

Dana TUGAMBEKOVA

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