The Yessenov Foundation enters the new 2022 with a new program – “Orleu”, which will help low-income young Kazakhstanis, including orphans and those with special needs to get a higher education. We addressed some questions regarding the novelty to the executive director of the charity Aiganym Malisheva.
Why does the foundation need another new program?
Well, first of all, it is the country that really needs it, as it will become a chance for low-income children, among whom there are many talented ones. It seems unfair to us to deprive them of the opportunity to get the necessary education, which is not available to these individuals for financial reasons. In addition, next year is the 95th anniversary of the birth of academician and scientist Shakhmardan Yessenov. We decided to mark the date with the opening of this socially important program which can help to break the vicious circle of poverty to our beneficiaries.
How will ”Orleu” differ from other programs of the foundation (for example, Yessenov Scholarship or Research Internships)?
Translated, the name of the program means “promotion, development, moving up”. Secondary schools and vocational schools underprivileged graduates who have not received a state grant and who are willing to get a higher education will be able to participate in the competition. They may not have brilliant, but good academic performance (i.e. they should have just good marks in their records). The most important criteria are: low income of the applicant and the desire of the contestant to use this social elevator to improve the quality of own life and the life of his or her family. We will also accept applications for this program from orphans as well as youngsters with special needs.
We continue to follow our framework: in “Orleu”, the foundation will support those who receive specialties in such areas as natural sciences, mathematics and statistics, information and communication technologies, engineering, manufacturing and construction industries, and healthcare. The grant will be allocated only for one academic year, but each year the grant holder will be able to participate in the competition and win again. Moreover, a person needs to study well, because the foundation will pay grants to universities at the end of each semester in tranches. This will be a good incentive for the winners. We think it’s wrong to pay for full tuition right away. This way our grantees will understand a direct link between the chance to get a free education and the need to succeed in their studies.
What else will the winners get? How many grants will there be? Will it be clear in advance how many grants you allocate to schoolchildren, to vocational schools graduates and to the orphans?
This program is a pilot project, i.e. depending on the results of the first year, we can change, adjust or correct the conditions of the competition. In total, we plan to allocate 10 grants for the academic year 2022-2023 without a limit on tuition fees. If necessary (for nonresidents), we plan to allocate a scholarship that will cover housing, food, Internet, and other expenses. We will not distribute the number of grants among the categories of participants. It is important for us that the applicant’s family really could not pay for education, and the applicant wanted to study.
When will the “Orleu” competition take place?
Applications will be accepted since the end of April 2022, and the deadline is the end of July. The winners will be determined in August, just a couple of days after the publication of the list of receivers of the state educational grant.
How will the competition be held?
Traditionally in several stages. At the first stage, in addition to academic performance, motivation, and volunteer experience, we will consider the financial situation of the applicant and his family, i.e. whether they really have nowhere to take money for higher education. The second stage is an individual and group online interviews. This is where a professional psychologist comes into play. At this stage, we evaluate personal qualities and some knowledge (for example, languages). We need to understand how clear the goals of the applicant are, what are his or her abilities to perceive and analyze new information, how developed is his emotional intelligence, organizational and communication skills, and flexibility, how active is one’s life position, etc.
How does the Yessenov Foundation respond to the challenges of the pandemic in general?
Due to the pandemic, we are forced to relocate the selection process for our programs exclusively online. Before 2020 our employees visited universities and talked about the foundation, about how to properly prepare documents for competitions, but now all meetings and interviews are held through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The grant allocated for Research Internships abroad provides the winner with funds for getting vaccinated (if there is no other opportunity, except for a fee), for PCR testing and quarantine accommodation in a hotel, if necessary. The English language program for students of the regional university, which will win our competition in 2022, will also be held online. That’s for sure.
According to the foundation, in connection with the 95th anniversary of the birth of Shakhmardan Yessenov, whose name the charity organization is named after, the charity will hold a competition of scientific reports among schoolchildren in the academician’s homeland in Tartogai village in Kyzylorda region. Ten winners will receive as an incentive the opportunity to visit Almaty with a two-day excursion. In January 2022, the foundation will complete the selection of the winners of the scientific internship program (there will be 10 of them), and by April 1, it will announce the winners of the Yessenov Scholarship (20 students will become recipients). Also in the spring, a regional university will be selected, in which the English language program will be held for the next academic year. There will also be a competition for a modified IT internship program, which is now called the Yessenov Launch Pad and serves to improve the skills of young people working in the field of information technology. In August, the “Orleu” program will announce 10 winners. In total, since 2013 – the year of opening the scientific and educational foundation named after Academician Yessenov – almost 1,500 young Kazakhstanis have already become direct beneficiaries of the charity.
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