Yannat Nizamutdinova: Being a main mother of the capital's Assembly is humbling experience

Head of the Mothers’ Council of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan in Astana, Yannat Nizamutdinova shared in an interview what projects are being implemented by the Council and about founding Tatar cultural center Duslyk.

—You are the Chairman of Mothers’ Council in Astana. How has the activity in this field started?

—I came to Tselinograd (now Astana) after completing the 8th grade of the national school from the distant Tatar village of Bashkortostan to study. It was not easy for me in those days, firstly, I spoke only Tatar, I understood Russian, but could not communicate freely, and secondly, nostalgia, I missed home a lot. At that time, the locals spoke mostly Russian. Occasionally, if I heard Kazakh, I was very happy, almost 90% of the words coincided with the words in Tatar. At that time I felt like I was among my native souls. It was also very difficult to study, but with time I entered the rhythm of my studies: I graduated with honours from a technical school, then two institutes of economics and psychology.

My knowledge, efforts have borne fruit. I was invited without any support, and I worked in serious departments of regional and republican value ("Regional management of bread products", "NC "KTZ" JSC, the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Structure of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan as an economist and chief accountant).

As the retirement age approached, I began to think about what I was going to do on pension, knowing my nature and possibilities. Since childhood, we were forced to work in the village, as well as adults from morning till late at night. Since the 4th grade I have been earning money on school supplies (notebooks, books, pencils, pens, etc.). During the summer holidays, my peers and I were collecting hay and working for the collective farm. In addition, each house in the village was allocated 1 hectare of land for sugar beet cultivation - planting, weeding and harvesting. At home, the farm also required participation: cattle care, participation in haymaking, manure harvesting, work in the garden: watering, weeding 30 hundredths of land. All these works were carried out on our shoulders as well as by our parents.

Having considered all variants I have made the decision to change the life style, has entered E.A. Buketov Karaganda State University for Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and has finished it when I had 3 years till pension. It was difficult to make a decision, because I was an office accountant, doubted whether I could work in another area. After all, age is not small either. I analyzed, looked at active and successful women who are already retired, looking for niches, where there are problems, and what benefits I can bring. I stopped at the fact that I am a woman, the solution of women's issues is close to me, I went through difficult life periods myself. I thought it was mine, and here I could do good. Having gathered like-minded people, we unanimously decided to create a women's organization "World Women's Friendship Center", where I was elected chairman, later I was elected chairman of "Tatar Cultural Educational Center "Duslyk", I am a member of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan, head of the Council of Tatar and Bashkir Women "Ak Kalfak", a member of the Family and Demographic Policy of the Akimat of Astana.

I had to work on myself a lot, had passed 4 modules of the Orator's skill course, did not miss seminars and round tables on my subjects, which were held in Astana, learnt everything well. That's how I started to work. I didn't even notice how fast time flies, I've been retired for 5 years, but in the ranks, as you can see. My knowledge of a psychologist was very useful. I am busy with social work.

It so happened that I was entrusted to head the Council of Mothers, for which I am infinitely grateful to my colleagues and like-minded people - to be the main mother of APK of the capital is a great honor, but at the same time and a huge responsibility!

That's why I try to rely on proven and reliable people, and this, of course, first of all, are the activists of our city. I think it will be important to emphasize that all our work is solely on a voluntary basis and there is absolutely no material interest. Representatives of various NGOs, activists, employees of institutions, universities, which are members of the Council of Mothers, also work on a voluntary basis, in their spare time.

We live in a secular state, so as a career woman I have to comply with the accepted norms in society. At the same time, I try to adhere to the requirements of Islam as much as possible in today's reality. However, this does not cause much difficulty. If you distribute your time correctly and set the right priorities, you realize that everything is possible and achievable.

When I'm doing community service, I don't forget about the spiritual side of our being. And what is more, I reach out to it with my whole soul. I am a 2nd year student at Russian Islamic Institute (Theology). Education is secular. Recently I successfully passed the next term. I learned to read Arabic, the rules of Tazhvid. I need this knowledge, firstly, to know the truth, and secondly, to explain competently to my children, grandchildren and relatives.

I was awarded with medals: Gold medal of Assembly of people of Kazakhstan "Birlik", the highest award of the World Congress of Tatars - a medal "For the big merits before the Tatar people", to the 20th anniversary of Astana, to the 20th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to the 20th anniversary of Assembly of people of Kazakhstan and "In memory of the 110th anniversary from the date of birth of Musa Jalil" (Tatarstan).

I am awarded with letters of thanks from the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Tatarstan, Akim of Astana, Assembly of people of Kazakhstan, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Tatarstan in the Republic of Kazakhstan and many other honorary diplomas and letters. These awards belong not only to me, but also to my colleagues and associates. Many thanks to them.

—What was the purpose of the creation of APK’s Mothers’ Council in Astana?

—Council of Mothers under the Assembly of Astana was established in 2013. The main purpose of the Council of Mothers is to assist in ensuring interethnic harmony in the city, the formation and upbringing of Kazakhstan patriotism, tolerance, civil and spiritual-cultural community of the people of Kazakhstan, the promotion of family values, strengthening the institution of marriage and family.

—What activities are carried out within the framework of the Council of Mothers?

—I would like to dwell on some details, as we originally built our work, which allowed us to achieve decent results.

From the very first days, we and our Council identified activities where we could be useful. And mothers, as we know, can be useful in all areas of our lives. Given that the Council of Mothers, as a deliberative body, does not have legal status and, accordingly, funding, we have had to focus on the areas of work that we can really do something about and solve. We have carried out monitoring of the city – what problem zones remained, not to duplicate the work of other parallel structures, as in the capital works a lot of state administrations, organizations and NGOs, which also deal with issues of protection of motherhood and childhood, youth and students, invalids and pensioners, women's issues, coordinate crisis centers, etc.

We have a large number of young, middle-aged and mature women in our ranks, but unfortunately, due to the high level of employment and family work, this category of women is not always able to participate in our events. That is why we bet on a mature age: first of all, they have a great life and professional experience, they have free time and a great desire to benefit society.

Mother's councils work in four districts of Astana, where they have been invited to work as active, purposeful and experienced women, and they are coordinators of women's clubs. We opened 5 women's clubs such as: "The Pearl of Maternal Wisdom", "Ak Oramal", "Healthy Nutrition", "Legal Aid", "We are only at 60…". It included experienced, authoritative women from all districts of the city - doctors, psychologists, sociologists, lawyers, public figures, honored teachers, etc. 

Under Ruhani zhangyru program, the Clubs implement three projects: "Maternal Wisdom", "Beauty of the Headdress", "Charity Actions". On the basis of its goals, the Council of Mothers has held a number of seminars, meetings and discussions at schools and higher education institutions on the formation and education of Kazakhstan's patriotism, tolerance and preservation of inter-ethnic harmony. Several seminars were held with the staff of the Military Court on family values, upbringing of the younger generation and relations between parents and children.

The topic of leisure plays an important role in creating a favorable environment for any person. We try to organize various trainings, master classes, cultural events. Those who came to us for the first time become regular participants of all our meetings, trying to join the public work, to bring some benefit. And if at first sad, burdened with thoughts of hard life come, in time their faces start to shine with smiles. Some find support, while others get a chance to help someone.

A very interesting meeting with the Honored Artist Kamil Mullashev was organized. Representatives of ethno-cultural associations got acquainted with history of creation of pictures, biography of the artist.

At the request of women, a visit to the new mosque - Ryskeldy Kajy, acquaintance with its architecture, meeting with Imam and excursion inside the mosque and in the adjacent territory were also organized.

Under "Qazaqtanu" and "Ruhani zhangyru" programs, a seminar "Мushel zhas - an ancient custom of Kazakhs" was held. Young people, people of different ages and nationalities participated in this program. This custom is actual and today, in fact before a man passes mushel zhas can comprehend certain dangers, vital crisis situations. It was very important for everybody to know in what period of time mushel zhas comes, when the man steps out this age. We learned what rituals are held with this dangerous age. In total, 2 events were held on this program: a seminar, discussion, rite of passing mushel zhas in practice in Mumtas restaurant.

A thematic event entitled "Day of Women's National Headdress of Kazakhstan people" was also held. The purpose of this event was to familiarize and form interest in the national culture and traditions through the study of ethnic clothing, the formation of interest and respect for cultural traditions and customs of ethnic groups, attracting attention to the uniqueness of the traditional national headdress, to its ethnic identity and diversity. Hats with a ritual demonstration and a video presentation of national hats were demonstrated.

We also take part in international, national and city conferences, forums, round tables and meetings. We act as speakers, talk about existing problems, discuss topics, suggest ways of solving them.

During 2018, Assembly’s Council of Mothers of Astana held 47 events, covering more than 1500 people. A large amount of work is planned for this year. The plan includes a lot of creative ideas, I will not disclose everything, I just want to inform you that since March 1, 5 more handicraft clubs, two more clubs on equestrian skills, dancing and sports, teaching togyzkumalak games have been launched. Everyone can study in these clubs for free.

—You're involved in social works. Could you tell us more about them.

—Council of Mothers pays special attention to social work. We hold face-to-face meetings and consultations with women who come to us with different stories. Sometimes not very happy. We try to help everyone. How do we do that? First of all, if necessary, we try to support psychologically. Having studied the question, we start to act concretely. We take measures, get in touch with government agencies that can solve the problem, looking for ways out of the situation. Taking this opportunity, I would just like to bring a few charitable projects from the long list of good deeds implemented with the participation of the Council of Mothers under the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan in Astana.

First. Joint work with the guests of Astana Akimat crisis center, Psychoneurological Dispensary in Alekseyevka settlement, with children of "Children's Villages of Kazakhstan". We visit these institutions 1-2 times a quarter ourselves and at the invitation of administration. We try to please them with something, bring gifts in the form of clothes, toys, sweets, communicate, give advice if they ask our opinion about a particular situation, organize small festive events. And they are always very happy to come to us. They share their successes, show concert performances, their handicrafts and we rejoice together with them, sometimes tears are wrapped in our eyes. It is not for nothing that the Arabic proverb says: "If you are rich, share your wealth, if you are poor, share the warmth of your heart.

Second. Helping and supporting socially vulnerable groups in maintaining an active life position. We work with the Councils of Veterans on the lists of lonely and socially vulnerable citizens. We are not indifferent to people in trouble or not an easy life situation. This work is sacred, and takes a lot of our time, so I want to dwell a little more.

A lot of people from different parts of our country come to the capital in search of a good life, who are looking for a job, in order to get an apartment and other benefits. As a result, they do not always cope with the difficulties faced by the society. A person hoping for the best by selling a house, leaving children behind, not always immediately finds a job in the city. Left without money and a warm angle, a person loses confidence, gets into bad companies, radical currents, becomes a drug addict. Everyone needs an individual approach. Cooperation with drug abuse clinic helped us many times in consultations and treatment of teenagers. 

Saving a child in the womb from tuberculosis infection (pregnant mother had an open form of tuberculosis), it was necessary for the child to be vaccinated at birth, the mother did not allow by a religious denomination, we had to meet her in person, had to apply their spiritual knowledge and convince mother that she did not make an unforgivable mistake in life against her child.

It is not customary to advertise charity, but I think it is possible to share it in order to exchange experiences. For example, businessmen provide assistance within the limits of their firm's financial capacity once or twice a year, but not to their own detriment. Therefore, we try to reach out to more companies and organizations, which, because of their workload, do not always get into the problems of the person in need. We meet with the heads of companies, with their assistants by personal conversation, telling about the specific case, about the fate, confirm the facts (medical cases), inform what kind of help a person needs. Personal contacts are always more effective than just letters of request for help.

There have been cases in which directors have expressed a desire to visit these people in person and, after the visit, have provided additional assistance. As an example, I will give you a couple of cases.

A few years ago, a grandmother personally asked me to help to grandson Dias. The boy's mother is a disabled person of the 1st group, and the grandmother is a pensioner. Dias was born without fingers on both hands, had a pathology of rib deformation, and risked dying as he grew up, as the rib could pierce his lungs. He was not able to dress himself completely. For two years I had to address to various health care organizations and I wanted to help a child at any cost. Unfortunately, our medicine could not help, indeed, it is one of the rarest diagnoses. Once, participating in a roundtable discussion, I knew that as part of the exchange of experience, there is a program under which American doctors come to Kazakhstan to perform surgeries free of charge and provide children with medical care. I immediately contacted the organizers of the project, submitted all the necessary conclusions, and then all the documentation was sent to the U.S. specialists for study. A few months later, professors from the United States came to see Dias and offered to perform the surgery in Astana. Last spring, he was operated on and there was no risk of a lung puncture. The boy is undergoing postoperative rehabilitation. Of course, this is a great success. Together with this family we rejoice in recovery and are constantly in touch with them.

We organize home visits to sick, lonely elderly people, we congratulate them, hold talks, consultations and distribute food packages to the places of residence. We actively assist the city mosques in providing meals, especially during Ramadan and Kurban Bayram days, to those in need (the elderly, orphans and poor families).

In order to raise the role of parents in the upbringing of sick children and provide public attention to their problems, we organize holidays for disabled children and from poor families.

In honor of Gratitude Day, we organized an exhibition of Tatar cuisine and organized food for the poor and socially vulnerable categories of the population. As part of the event, 10 food packages were distributed to families with many children in special need and to single pensioners. A music programme, an exhibition of books on national cuisine and household items were organized.

In 2018, assistance was provided in all areas of social support in the amount of 9 980 000 tenge.  I proudly mention our active women philanthropists, members of the Council of Mothers, who provided significant financial support in addressing social issues - it is Ruda Natalia Mikhailovna and Kurasheva Roza Dosmailovna.

We contribute to the provision of free legal services. For several years now we have been successfully operating a legal clinic where Rosa Konakbayeva, a member of the Astana Bar Council, advises on all legal issues (administrative matters, tax legislation, construction and real estate, divorce issues and inheritance, labor disputes, etc.). If strictly necessary, she can also represent the interests of the applicant for assistance in court.

It is difficult, of course, but we don't stop, we don't give up. And this wave is felt by everyone who works with us.

—What is the role of the Council of Mothers in strengthening Kazakhstan's identity and social accord?

—The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan plays a leading role in the development and strengthening of Kazakhstan's identity and model of social accord and national unity. Kazakhstan has successfully implemented a unique model of social harmony and national unity, the author of which is our President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Assembly plays a key role in strengthening Kazakhstan's identity and unity, and is the constitutional body that ensures stability and reconciliation in society.

The Council of Mothers also makes its modest contribution to the solution of family problems, upbringing of young generation, preservation of traditions, customs, preservation of culture, issues of patriotic education, which was discussed in detail. After all, the main thing in life is the world where you live, family well-being, security, and a roof over your head. Peace is the joy of fatherhood and motherhood, health of parents and happiness of our children, stable work, salary and confidence in the future. We try to make the world even more beautiful and brighter.

—What is the role of a woman in society?

—A woman is still a mother, the guardian of the home and family comfort. We have created all the conditions for the comprehensive development of women in our country, whether it be career, business or only the upbringing of children, if there is a desire and financial capacity of the family. Of course, you need to have a strong desire and desire to achieve your goals. We understand that a woman needs to make more efforts to achieve her career goals.

Modern Kazakhstani women, regardless of ethnicity, should follow the generally accepted canons. We can chase the rapidly developing West, but we cannot deny their outright degradation of personality, which is alien to us and our way of life. Therefore, we must remain committed to the ideals of our mentality, traditions and customs.

—You are the chairman of the Tatar cultural center Duslyk, what year was it founded? What events are held?

—Tatar Cultural Education Centre Duslyk was established in 2014. I am ready to talk about Duslyk Centre for hours. This is my favorite creation. When I opened Duslyk, I faced the main question: why? After all, the capital already had a Tatar-Bashkir Tan center, which has been running its history since 1994. By the way, I have worked many years in "Tan", I am still the Vice-president. But there were interesting projects requiring special attention, separate study. And the new organization was just engaged in them. I will explain at once, "Duslyk" and "Tan" do not duplicate each other's work in any case, rather complement what they were created for. Duslyk" cultural center is a small group of literate, intelligent, gifted and very creative people. Real professionals are in their field. No Duslyk event is left without the attention of journalists and the public. They talk about us, write about us, show us. And this only means that our work is in demand and we are moving in the right direction. As proof, the annual cycle of events dedicated to the birthday of the great Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay is held. Our "Tukay spring" at the World Youth Forum in Kazan was recognized as one of the best projects and recommended as an exemplary one for implementation in Central Asia.

We are working hard to preserve the creative heritage of the famous Tatars. For example, we have published a unique collection of poems by Musa Jalil in Tatar, Russian and Kazakh languages. During three years in the Republic of Kazakhstan the Republican literary competition among pupils of secondary schools, students of colleges and the high schools, devoted to creativity of the outstanding son of the Tatar people, the Hero of the Soviet Union, poet Musa Dzhalil was successfully spent.

In July 2018 in Astana, during the meeting of the Tatar activists of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, the Kazakhstani Congress of Tatars and Bashkirs made a proposal to change the status of the Contest from the Republican to the International one, which was supported by all participants of the meeting. And on February 15, 2019 I started the I-st International Literary Competition "Star of Jalil".

Spiritual values, which were laid in me in my childhood, allowed me to take up a serious project with all responsibility. Several years ago, I initiated the restoration of the cathedral's Green (Tatar) mosque in Astana, which was built on the funds of, in particular, the Tatar merchant Nurken Zabirov at the end of the 19th century and destroyed in Soviet times. Today it is reminiscent only of an ancient fence at the intersection of the Republic Avenue and Abai Avenue. The initiative was supported by the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, the public of the capital and the country, but, unfortunately, has not continued much yet. We have conducted a number of events, are searching for archival documents and correspondence with local authorities. This idea, in principle, gave rise to the creation of the Tatar Center "Duslyk", which is currently the main operator of the project. This mosque is included in the Astana Sacral Map.

This project is being implemented under the Sacred Geography program of our President Nursultan Nazarbayev's Ruhani zhangyru program. I dream that the mosque, which was built in the XVIII century by our Kazakh brothers together with the Tatars, would take its place and decorate our beloved city with dignity. Only two mosques of the world - Kazan and Istanbul - read the Holy Quran for 24 hours. I would like this to be continued by our beloved city of Astana.

We conduct excursions to historical and sacred places of our city in order to acquaint young people, Sunday school students and their parents, children from low-income families and the elderly.

We will continue cycles of literary evenings on which we intend to discuss both separate works of Tatar authors and development of modern Tatar literature. Similar musical meetings are planned. By the way, a lot of different things are planned for 2019, and I will not tip my hand, but we will tell you about them as the plan is implemented.

And this is primarily due to my team. There would be no support from like-minded people, there would be no result. I am especially grateful to the author of many projects, young journalist Rinat Dussumov, activists of the center Alfiya Bereza, Nadia Abdrakhmanova and others. I dream that Kazakhstani Tatars know their ancestors, their language, their culture, life and traditions. So that there would never be any disagreements between ethnic groups in our country, prosperity and well-being would reign. That today's young people keep up with the times, ahead of the entire planet, but at the same time do not forget about their roots. Children should be well fed and healthy, and families should be strong and prosperous. To make people kinder, richer spiritually, to live in peace with everyone in the world.

—Could you tell us about your center's cooperation with universities in Kazan?

—We cooperate with many universities in Kazan – Kazan Federal University, Kazan Research Technology University, Russian Islamic University. Those students we sent are already graduating from universities, and many of them already want to enroll in postgraduate studies there. Our specialist, who was directly involved in admissions issues, moved to Moscow, for this reason, the last year was not actively conducted. Many school leavers of the city apply to us for admission to universities in Kazan, we address to whom, on what questions to apply, suggest what requirements are made for admission. Sometimes we contact universities in Kazan ourselves and correspond with each other.

—What inspires you?

—I have already said that I am on a well-earned rest. As if the second breath opened, I work more than before retirement. Days are scheduled by hours, sometimes weeks in advance – meetings, projects, negotiations, study... And I am interested in all these things. How can I remain passive if you can influence the solution of any problems?!

I am a happy person! Children have grown up, got education, and became demanded specialists. The grandson brings joy to me with successes. Every year I go to Bashkortostan to see my mother, who raised 8 children, in October this year she will be 90 years old. Unfortunately, my father hasn't been with us for 15 years.

What else do you need for happiness?! I love life! Every new day is a gift from God. The secret of success is in His support. It is important for me to benefit not only my family, but the whole world around me. I am open to everyone who needs me! You have to agree that you can help with words, deeds or money. But the law of boomerang always works. And if the good doesn't come back to me today, my children and grandchildren will get it tomorrow. I live by this principle. It inspires me.

Dana TUGAMBEKOVA

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