Month: February 2019

February triumph of Kazakhstan national tennis teams in the Davis Cup and in the Fed Cup

February 2019 became a signature month for the Kazakhstani tennis. Both teams at once – men’s and women’s – won victories in the capital of Kazakhstan, in the President’s sight, and were qualified for the final stage of the Davis Cup World Group and for the play-off of the Fed Cup. For the first time in history, Kazakhstan hosted rivals of both national teams at home in Astana and won two bright victories at a blow within one week, having satisfied all expectations of their fans.

On 1 February the men’s national team of Kazakhstan stood against the Portuguese team. Kazakhstanis were favourites because historically they almost always won in the Davis Cup battles in their motherland. That was the case this year too. A sensational victory was won right on the first day of the series by a 21-old Alexander Boublik, a debutant of the Davis Cup. He played against the renowned Joao Sousa – the experienced leader of the Portuguese team and number 39 in the world rating. For the second match, leader of the Kazakhstani team Mikhail Kukushkin was entering the court against number two in the Portuguese team with an already gained advantage and has won very unsurprisingly.

Pictured: Mikhail Kukushkin is getting a special ITF award for the allegiance to his country from the Chair of the International Tennis Federation.

The second day of the matchup turned out to be a little bit more challenging, but the Kazakhstani team still managed to clinch the win of the series with the 3:1 score in their favour. The fifth meet was not needed after Mikhail Kukushkin hammered Joao Sousa with the 6:4, 6:1 scores. This enabled Kazakhstan to reach the final stage of the Davis Cup World Group – the largest and the most prestigious of the team tournaments in the world of men’s tennis. Thanks to this victory Kazakhstan joined the ranks of 18 national teams which will compete for reaching the Cup’s quarterfinal in November 2019 in Madrid.

Pictured: men’s national tennis team of Kazakhstan

It was not quite the end of victories won by Kazakhstanis in tennis. On the heels of the Davis Cup, the Fed Cup came – the similar largest and the most prestigious of the team tournaments in women’s tennis. The Asian qualification series were divided into two groups: in one of them Kazakhstan had to meet Thailand and India, and in the other one China stood opposite Indonesia, South Korea and Oceania. However, the core struggle for the world stage play-off ticket had to take place in the final between the teams of Kazakhstan and China. Such was the case indeed.

Pictured: Zarina Dias

Like in the men’s team, there were no favourites, but China put together the stacked, almost the strongest, team. In the first match Zarina Dias, number 96 in the world, met with number 42 Saisai Zheng. In the second one, leader of the Kazakhstani team Yulia Putintseva played against renowned Zhuai Zhang who has just recently won the Australian Open. After two matches, there was one point in each team’s collection, therefore everything had to be resolved in the doubles third match. Our Anna Danilina and Galina Voskoboyeva played together for the first time; furthermore, 23-old Anna Danilina made her first appearance at the Fed Cup. The teams struggled in the first set, but in the second one the Kazakhstanis lost no single game to the Chinese women.

Pictured: women’s national team of Kazakhstan after their victory over China

The battle finished ahead of time after Danilina and Voskoboyeva won. In full view of fans, Kazakhstan, for the third time in history, reached the play-off of the second World Group of the Fed Cup. Now our girls will await to face with Great Britain on 20-21 April, where they will compete for the opportunity to reach the semifinal. It was very important to win the victory in the homeland in front of the capacity crowd of fans, to satisfy their expectations, and our female tennis players have successfully accomplished this task.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation will put 150 million tenge into the project of popularisation of a healthy lifestyle for Kazakhstani children

The “Balaman” project was presented on 31 January in Almaty. This is a platform with educational and entertainment content for children about a healthy lifestyle in the Russian, Kazakh and English languages. The project idea was offered to the Preventive Medicine Academy of Kazakhstan in 2017 by Almaz Sharman – a doctor and an expert in the field of biomedical and demographic health research. The project name comes from a Kazakh proverb “Bala aman – el aman”, that means “Healthy child – healthy nation”.

 In 2018 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation took a decision to support this project aimed at the improvement of health of the rising generation of Kazakhstanis. A year earlier the Foundation set a clear course for multiplicity, thus considerably expanding the scope of its projects. The new trends include: the large-scale project of reconstruction of the Botanical Garden in Almaty; support of cultural projects through partnership with the Batyrkhan Shukeyev Foundation; humanitarian aid, jointly with the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan, to Kazakhstanis stricken by river floods; and the WeArt project to support vulnerable groups of youth in Almaty.

The Foundation also did not overlook its own projects related to health care and support of individual vulnerable groups of population, which have been implemented for several years now – first of all it is expansion of the network of Assyl Miras autism centres, and the new level of holding the annual Burabike charity festival.

The next target group which will receive support of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation is children of Kazakhstan. It is exactly the group the educational work of the “Balaman” platform will be aimed at. The heart of this project will be use of modern technologies and social media for a successful communication with the new generation who cannot imagine their lives without Internet and gadgets. Its purpose is to cultivate healthier habits in children in everything that relates to prevention of diseases and popularisation of the healthy lifestyle: nutrition, physical exercises, day routine, communication with age-mates and first aid treatment.

“Balaman” has already been backed by children’s ambassadors: blogger Aminka-Vitaminka, whose YouTube audience is 2.7 million subscribers, and Daneliya Tuleshova, participant of the Junior Eurovision-2015 song contest.

Last year the Foundation allocated 22 million tenge for the development of the “Balaman” project. Marat Aitmagambetov says that the management plans to spend about 150 million tenge for the first three years of cooperation. And founder Bulat Utemuratov himself and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees intend to render long-term support for the formation of a healthier generation of Kazakhstanis. The fundamental role in this process is played by the healthy childhood and every Kazakhstani child is entitled to it.

How does Haileybury educate socially responsible Kazakhstanis?

Schoolchildren of international private schools Haileybury Almaty and Haileybury Astana are taught using the British system unique for Kazakhstan. The school administration has a comprehensive approach to education: children study not only traditional school disciplines but also put a lot of time into informal-learning settings including charity initiatives and social responsibility. The general idea in Haileybury is that this is an integral part of upbringing a future responsible citizen of Kazakhstan.

Haileybury Schools in Almaty and Astana in and of themselves are social projects of Kazakhstani businessmen and philanthropists. Both schools are non-commercial organisations generating a zero profit – all money left after payment of expenditures are reinvested in the development and in scholarships for gifted children. That way children get an opportunity to complete expensive A-Level и International Baccalaureate (IB) international qualification programmes free of charge. Over one third of students in the 12-13 grades in the Astana school study at the expense of grants, in Almaty over 50 children received similar grants between 2011 and 2018.

“Our shareholders do not demand profits from us because Haileybury is a social project. We have an opportunity to reinvest a part of revenues in the development of the Kazakhstani society through scholarships for gifted children whose parents cannot pay for their education at our school”, says Lynne Oldfield, Haileybury Director.

Kazakhstani schoolchildren can get competition-based grants from the age of 16. Candidates pass intelligence appraisal tests, demonstrate motivation and leadership qualities. Interestingly, the school has no limits for the number of grants – they are given to those who demonstrated true individuality, talent, high academic scores and knowledge of the English language. Why are grants given to children entering the 12 and 13 grades? This gives them an opportunity to get diplomas of expensive IB or A-level international programmes. And this is a direct way to the best higher education institutions in the world. The school continues supporting school-leavers financially upon their graduation if they are admitted to one of the best world universities.

Many Haileybury leavers study in prestigious foreign universities, and from 2016 education at such universities became available for those schoolchildren who received grants. In 2016 four Grant Programme students got offers from the University College London (10th place in the world rating list according to the QS World University Rankings), and the shareholders decided to render financial support to them and paid up the university tuition fees.

In 2017 Artur Turaliyev, who studied under the Haileybury Grant Programme, was awarded a partial grant at the Loughborough University, and in 2018 Aishabibi Ashimbekova was admitted to the University of California at Berkeley, Department of Astophysics (admission to this University is successful for 17% of applicants only). The school shareholders and philanthropists continued to sponsor Aishabibi’s studies at the University too.

The Haileybury Grant Programme is a manifestation of social responsibility of the school shareholders. But the school staff, parents and students also take part in charity and social initiatives. This is an important part of out-of-school curriculum of children, as teachers and the administration believe. The Haileybury Almaty schoolchildren, for example, for the third running year now have been arranging New Year presents and food treats for orphanage children because they want these children to feel the festive spirit too. Through their joint efforts teachers, students and parents hold the Winter Festival which allows to collect about 1.5 million of sponsor funds for charity purposes annually. And the Astana school community, in their turn, annually organise the ArtSportsFest inclusion festival devoted to Kazakhstani children with special needs.

At the end of September 2018, when the news passed round the world that the Sulawesi island in Indonesia suffered from the devastating tsunami and subsequent volcanic explosion, students of the Almaty school put on clothes in the colours of the Indonesian flag (white and red) instead of their uniforms and organised a fair where they sold baked foods made with their own hands. Proceeds – about 1,500 US dollars – were sent to support the victims of that disaster. Charity fairs are quite common at the Astana school too. For example, on the World Book Day the school traditionally holds the book fair, and the money which they manage to raise are donated for the benefit of orphan children.

The Almaty school houses an action group – a platform consolidating school representatives, parents and students for the common activity in assisting the single mothers shelter. The group provides an integrated support to the shelter: if the need be, undertakes repairs, pleases with gifts and treats, organises birthday celebrations, competitions and events. Haileybury Astana, in its turn, works together with the Ayalan Alan Foundation. They jointly contribute to the creation of an educational centre for children from the vulnerable strata of population, and fit district centre schools with equipment. Recently they implemented projects to equip classrooms in Aksai town and a special school for children with hearing disorders in Astana.

Haileybury schools in Kazakhstan actively cooperate with large charity organisations which implement initiatives in various areas, such as Dara, Special Olympics, the Red Crescent Society, the Biodiversity Conservation Fund of Kazakhstan and many others. From 2013, Haileybury Almaty has been cooperating with the United World Schools and has built an operating school for rural children in one of the remote areas of Cambodia within the frameworks of its charity support.

Schoolchildren can be socially active also within the walls of the school. They can voluntarily help teachers play with younger children, practice engaging games with them, put forward ideas for organisation of charity projects, and to develop innovative social responsibility concepts within the school curriculum. 

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