Youth Program Makes USAID “Nation’s Key Donor Institution.”

June 2, 2010

Photos by: Creative Associates International

Television screens across the world flashed pictures on April 7th of the young faces of Kyrgyzstan’s displaced, angry and disenfranchised who came out of novostroika squatter settlements into Bishkek’s public squares. Within two weeks of these events, USAID’s Quality Learning Project launched the Youth AID for Education program. More than 2,000 youth participated in painting, renovating community centers, writing contests, and soccer matches fostering team building, civic responsibility, and a sense of self worth. A young man named Ruslan said “Because we were such a nice team we were able to remodel football fields, run civic education classes and mobilized other young people in our communities.” A youth named Azmat underscored the extraordinary impact of these efforts: “I had a dream that one day I would play football in a professional football field with my friends, but I hoped it would happen when I grew up and somewhere outside of Kyrgyzstan. I did not know it could happen in Bishkek and at this period of my life.” Bishkek’s Mayor, praising the program’s success in channeling the energies of marginalized youth into a positive outcome, stated that USAID has become the “nation’s key donor institution.”

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