by Айнаш Касенова









by Айнаш Касенова from г. Алматы

Greetings! My name is Ainash Kasenova, I work in the “Dara” charity foundation. This is our first experience of participating in a crowdfunding campaign. We sincerely believe, that even the littlest donations, in connection with others, make significant numbers and bring a lot of benefit to the children!

One of the main directions of our organization’s activity is the “Mentors” project. 

All of the international and local researches as well as work experience with orphan kids states that most of boarding institutions’ graduates tend to have such flaws as dependency, inability to use received knowledge in real life situations, inaptitude to orientate in societies and interact with it, misunderstanding the material side of life, increased suggestibility, propensity for antisocial behavior, overestimated or underestimated self-esteem and much more.

Why all of this happens? By not receiving love, care and support from the people around, a child grows up with delays in psychological, physical, emotional and social development. Moreover, by being placed in warm conditions of boarding institutions, where all of the problems are being solved by adults, orphanage wards have no skills or awareness of independent, adult life at the point of reaching adulthood. Charity and sponsorship from different companies and organizations in terms of gifts and feast hosting forms dependent relationship on life in orphan-kids. Most of them do not receive such support in adult life and do not have a shoulder to rely on in the face of a parent or guardian. Because of this, they end up in companies consisting of criminals. Our project is dedicated to solving such problems by providing children without foster or parental care emotional support and help in terms of gaining social skills.

It is very important and necessary for several reasons. Kids that are left without parental care are in need for self-dependence, simple household skills and confidence in their own abilities as well as the motivation to live independently. A mentor can become a friend for the child, help him in his educational process and in mastering communicational skills, as well as in the development of social competence. For their wards, mentors become grown-up personal friends that, by relying on life experience, are able to listen and help, give advice, direct in making important decisions concerning future life and motivate for reaching goals. After a teenager leaves the orphanage, he/she will have someone to address to and ask help from.

Important to note that in the project, before a mentor begins individual communication with a child, he/she passes few selection stages: psychological testing, interview with a psychologist and educating in the Mentors’ school.

Any adult over 25 that is ready to dedicate no less than one day a week for his/her ward can become a mentor. Despite other volunteer work, taking part in our project provides communication with a child for a long period of time, two years - according to the officially concluded contract between the mentor and “Dara” Foundation. Psychologists and coordinators of the project conduct a very strict selection process for potential mentors, testing the information concerning each one’s identity and providing psychological tests, finding out how much a person is ready to step into something so responsible. Big amount of attention goes to educating the potential mentors before they meet the kids. Those interested in becoming mentors have to pass a special training in the School of Mentors.

School of Mentors – specialized (duration of 2 days) training of people declaring their wishes to become mentors for orphanage wards. The format of education – practical seminar / training with a volume of at least 15 academical hours. Optimal number of participants in each school – 20-25 people (4-6 such trainings are held annually, depending on the recruitment of potential mentors). The Mentors’ School program includes:

  • Providing information about the project, its goals and objectives;
  • Providing knowledge about both emotional and behavioral characteristics of an orphan and children without parental care;
  • Development of skills for effective further interaction with the child, learning to understand the reasons of one’s behavior and much more.

People who educate potential mentors in the Mentors’ School are specialists that have professional education in the psychological sphere, experience in social work and working with orphan and kids left with no parental care. Moreover, they have experience in holding such trainings.

In the process of further interaction between a child and mentor a lot of questions of psychological type are being revealed. A lot of kids have faced situations of violence, abandonment, the loss of loved ones, etc. Without professional psychological support, such questions are hard to solve, especially at a young age. They influence the overall condition of a child, his/her anxiety and the ability to learn and socialize. To solve this issue and not face it in the future, the service of permanent psychological care “mentor-child” is working.

It should be emphasized that the project is for volunteers, and the mentor does not carry the functions of a sponsor. The project does not allow expensive gifts or giving money to the child. The difference between a mentor and a sponsor or adoptive parent is being explained to the child in return. A mentor is a friend who shares the most valuable things with a child: time, attention, individual attitude and personal experience. As a part of the “guest contract”, mentors can take children to their homes for the weekend and holiday time. It is highly important for the mentor to have the opportunity to communicate with the child outside the orphanage, so that the ward will have an idea of life outside the institution.

To this day, our foundation realizes the project in Almaty and Astana by its own, and in Karaganda, Pavlodar and Uralsk with the support of non-governmental partner organizations. In Almaty, our Foundation works with Orphanage N1 (Orbita-3, 27). As a part of our project, to this time, 17 pairs of “mentor-child” were provided with regular consultations from psychologists, and 20 more kids are waiting for their “order”. It should be noted that every “Mentor’s School” graduates 5 educated and ready-to-work mentors, which are then allowed to take part in the project. Because of this, the foundation is constantly searching for potential mentors for orphanage children.

We invite all of those concerned about the fate of orphanage children to join our “Mentors” project. We address to a large audience of a crowdfunding company’s platform with the invitation to join our mentors’ team or help from the financial side, as we think that helping such projects is very important!

With your help, we would like to collect 525,000 tenge. We plan to spend the money on another 2-day training of the “Mentor’s School” this summer and pay for the services of our psychologist-coordinators for three months. In case of exceeding the amount of needed money, extra funds will be spent on the organization of the “Mentor’s School” in autumn and the print of the materials for school textbooks.



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