"Dear mistress Karakulova! The Academy of Improvement of Education (AIE) invites you to participate in the international project "Womens nongovernmental organizations and womens leadership" financed by State of the USA"

Invitation promised Gulnara Karakulova, the teacher of the department of the world literature and research of books of South Kazakhstan State University three weeks of the fascinating presentation trip in "the country of the yellow devil", how America has been named by Mayakovsky.

Why has Gulnara been invited exactly? As a director of Womens Resource Center which she has created herself? What organization is this and what does it do?

"Having come from distant trips

 

American woman and American women,

Or Feminine look at "the country of the yellow devil"

 

- Two years ago I have read information about the project "Rights of women. Educational program for women", which was spread by Almaty Womens Information Centre (AWIC), - Gulnara tells, - I was interested; I decided to participate in the competition. One day I have got the positive reply and invitation to the cycle of seminars.

 

- Was the decision to participate in the competition dictated by your interest to the legal theme?

Sooner, it is understanding that fact that position of women is getting worse in the country every year grows worse, and there is no a democratic program for its improvement. Having returned from the training, I have conducted several meetings on spreading the knowledge in the field of rights of women, and I have also solved to create the centre, which would realize the social programs, defend the interests of those women, who could not do it themselves, realize non-traditional ideas, and create job placements.

At present, our centre works in four directions: educational, information, research, and consultation. We have conducted several seminars, for instance, "History development of the rights of women", "Discrimination of women in language", one joint seminar with the centre of the support of women from Taldykorgan on theme "Woman. Right. Society", as well as sociological research of the problem of womens unemployment.

We have also a program on leadership for girls from 15 to 25 years.

 

-So, did your centre conduct the summer seminar in Mashat?

- Yes, we worked on the project "Summer womens camp - 99" with Shymkent Branch of International Kazakh Turkish University named after Yassavy together with the sponsor support of "Mobil" in gorge Mashatin July, 1999. Its main purpose was the training of individual leadership qualities of girls.

Our organization consists while from seven women - volunteers. They are teachers, head of educational work from the secondary school, students and there is even one unemployed woman.

Volunteers offer ideas, methods of work, collect and spread information, observe the feedback.

 

-And, perhaps, were there interesting ideas if you have invited to America?

- I was recommended to the trip to America by Terisa L.Kennedi. She came to Shymkent and we have talked with her about a possibility of collaboration since, to my mind, exactly co-operating, we can obtain the positive changes to area of observance and protection of the rights of women. Terisa was in Almaty, when I have been invited to USIS on the meeting with Nensi Linn Korbant, attaché on culture and Sandey A. Bridzhitt, representative USAID. All documents for the trip were made here.

 

 

 

Impression

 

-Gulnara, you were three weeks in America. Of course, you have very much impression. Tell us what impression was opening of the America for you and which will be interesting for many readers.

-There were really many meetings with leaders of womens nongovernmental organizations. But I remembered them particularly in New York. One of them was held in the information centre of the library. Sara Kennedy, a program representative for East Europe, talked with us how as more literate to make the project and value the purposes of the fund effectively, how to work with the fund centre. This is a national official organization, organized and supported by charitable funds. Coming to the centre, it is possible to sit for the computer and search independently and get whole information interesting for you. The purpose of programs of the centre is to help NGO in their projects.

There is information about more then 34 thousand acting American funds in the centre. The centre also publishes the reference books about charitable funds and public philanthropic organizations and spreads information on competitive grant programs. It was very interesting and useful to know about all it.

Nongovernmental womens activity is more active now. And sometimes its activists "invent the bicycle", not suspecting that there is already structures are ready really to help. To help with information, and with money.

Amina Adam, coordinator of the UN program for East Europe, telling us about the process of preparation to the fifth worldwide feminine conference, said what profit nongovernmental organizations could get from it.

I felt openness and sincere wish to co-operate during the visit of agency of the international development of the USA, commission on civil rights, national centre of the management of nonprofit organizations in Washington, city authority in Tuson (state Arizona), department of the womens business at the Ministry of Labour of the USA in Seattle (state Washington), university of state Minnesota, Manhattan in New York.

Since I teach in high school, it was very interesting for me to visit universities in Tuson and Settle. The last one is one of the largest high educational institutions in the USA. There are about 45 thousand students at Tuson University and there are about 50 thousand students at Settle University. Certainly, the level of the education in the USA is higher, but it is possible to argue about educational outlook. They only try that girls should study Mathematics and Computer Science there. In this case we have equality fro a long time. We have been told in "Microsoft" company in Seattle about the social program for their own womens workers. We had all it. And we can only be sorry that going to market relations we have lost our own achievements in this plan.

But the computerization of the whole country in America is a solved problem. For instance, the computer in the bus gets data in your card and will show how many paid trips you still have. Also, I can say about educational institutions where a computer is so necessary thing as well as a pen and a notebook for us. It is possible to adopt and an experience of the patriotic education at schools. Pride for the country, flag is brought up to Americans from childhood. Respect to law and management of the country, too. It is open an access to congress for children. There are lessons of democracy for them in Capitol.

 

-You were in America for the first time. But probably, you have read before it about "the country of the yellow devil", you have seen cinema. Do you have the same impressions?

- And yes, and no. I was pleased that I was not already named "Russian", but I was asked if I was from Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan. It means that it was already heard about my country here. I was impressed by openness, smiles on faces, desire to help. We were informed that there "one man for another man was a wolf". So, thats why since the first days I did not feel a stranger myself in contrast with Poland or Germany, where I have been earlier. It was advised not to leave the valuable things and money in hotels. But it is tradition to give tips what we do not have. But there is a service of the high level.

 

 

 

-And what do you think about American women?

-They are independent, business, well dressed, using make-up. The last was surprised for me. I was told that they only dressed tanktops, jeans and sport shoes and they did not quite use make-up.

Women are leaders. There are reach women among them. So, giving some ideas they also organize the concrete deal giving women job placements, a chance to change their life to the best. The USA is a reach country. And the prices are high on all. For instance, the very good dress costs about 500 dollars. Saying the truth there are cheaper ones in less expensive shop or type as second hand. All goods in shops are very high quality, including Chinese ones. There are not cheap goods as Turkish and Chinese which many are in our market. I was particularly surprised that Americans are very punctual people. They value their and your time. It is not accepted to be late to the meeting or supper here.

 

-Did you have except official meetings unofficial ones?

-One of the bright impressions for me it was a visit of American families in Tuson. We have seen an internal life of America and Americans. The day in family of Robin and her husband Col began from the visit of the church. This church is unique because the pastor in it is a woman, and Robin helps her in good deals. For instance, there is a bank of the products near the church, where any need person can get them. There is a program of care for children of the nursery age and methodical program for elder boys.

The family invited us to eat to the restaurant. It is tradition here, but then they invited us to their house. Col has got it recently and he is proud of it. The house is really unusual. It was built by the Mexican used old known methods, direct sunbeams are not got in it, therefore it is always cool in it even in very hot days. New York is as well known a city of skyscrapers. But Tuson is a green comfortable one-story America. There is a reservation for Indians near the city. We have not been taken there because it was not a museum and people living there were not exhibits. So it is necessary to ask the consent from them. But I have heard regrets from inhabitants of Tuson that desert is made habitable and loses its unique. They are supporters of conservation of the nature in natural type and they show guests willingly primordial small piece of nature exotic plants. It is possible to buy souvenirs in each city. And it is difficult to remain from temptation to take away with you on memory for yourself and friends a bit piece of America. And I was else pleased to know that Tuson is a city-brother of Almaty, and it means that I meet with my American friends again and now it is already at my home.

 

- who do you want to meet again with?

-With Ellis Wilson, Ann Greys, Sara Kennedy, Rebekka Miller, Eliza KlosOh, I am afraid that with all. Each woman, with who I have met, is a bright personality, from whom you can learn something. The special words of thanks are to David Kemerrer, a project manager. Due to him I have opened for myself America and American women, who have the same wish with Kazakhstan women to live in civilized legal space, in friendship and cooperation with all, who wants the world to enter into the IIIrd millennium without wars, without discrimination on race and sexual signs.

 

- Gulnara, thank you for your interview. I wish success to your centre. I am sure, it will work more effective after this trip. And all more women will know of it.

-I hope.

N. KAZORINA.

"South Kazakhstan", Regional public-political newspaper, 1 (17. 147), January 5, 2000