Year: 2019

New television project of The 31 Channel makes lives of multi-child families better

Television project “Mom, we are at home!” was announced by The 31 Channel that is a part of Bulat Utemuratov’s media assets. The project allowed for free of charge and quality repairs of residential premises where low-income multi-child families live: 24 families have already got free repairs in the first season of this broadcast. The television project participants were real people from Kazakhstani villages, small and large towns, who told their real stories. Many of them live in dilapidated houses, temporal huts and dormitories as large families in a disproportionately small space. The maintenance team of The 31 Channel comes to their homes and not just eliminates all current violations of sanitary, injunctive and fire safety standards, but gives to household members a completely new, modern, comfortable and beautiful living space. The viewers can see how ordinary apartments and houses of multi-child families gain a new look, become practical and cozy for their comfortable stay. The project is financed out of the funds of the Ministry of Information and Public Development and out of the own funds of The 31 Channel.
We allocate about 130 million tenge, the remaining amount will be added by The 31 Channel. This money is non-repayable. It will be charity,” commented Minister of Information and Public Development Dauren Abaev.
According to Yury Brodsky, The 31 Channel Director General, the most important criteria for selection of participants are four or more children under 18 and the family’s own living space which does not exceed 55 sq. m.  if it is an apartment, and 70 sq.m if it’s a house. Renovation of the housing of the programme participants was done by the best design and construction companies of our country.
“We, of course, called in a special commission which considers each application in detail. Apart from meeting the criteria, we were interested, first of all, in the families themselves – how they live, what they dream about, what difficulties they face and how they overcome these difficulties. As the “Mom, we are at home” project is primarily about real people stories”, – said Yury Brodsky at the official presentation of the project in Nur-Sultan.
The head of The 31 Channel stressed that, in contrast to typical makeovers, the “Mom, we are at home!” project stipulates for the entire apartment or house renovation, including replacement of furniture, bathroom fixtures, kitchen electronic appliances and other burdensome and complicated parts of repairs:
“A family raising a large number of children always has enough troubles, especially if this is about housing. We are confident that our project “Mom, we are at home!” is not just to renovate the interiors in apartments and houses of multi-child families, but that it will help them to become happy. Each episode is a separate broadcast, individual story of one family which will definitely meet a response in your hearts”, added Yury Brodsky.

How Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation provides assistance to multi-child families

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation has financed construction of 100 houses for multi-child low-income families as part of the “Balameken” project.

In 2019 the Kazakhstani society faced an urgent issue of assistance to multi-child families living in disadvantaged conditions. In response, the government developed a large-scale programme of support measures: easy-term loans, mortgage programmes, housing certificates and allowances in various regions of Kazakhstan.

“Balameken”: houses for residents of Kyzylorda

In March Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation announced the “Balameken” project which resulted in the construction, in cooperation with the Kyzylorda Oblast Administration, of houses for 100 Kzylorda low-income families. The project gained a special attention of the government of Kazakhstan as an example of an efficient format of interaction between business and representatives of the regional administration.
Pictured: Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and Akim of the Kyzylorda Oblast are signing the memorandum
Houses were built in a new microdistrict “Baiterek”, and the general contributions of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation to the project comprised over 1 million US dollars.
“The project was implemented within the record terms, for a month and a half, and we are happy that summer vacations of 100 Kzylorda families start from house-warming”, – said in his speech Almaz Sharman, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, on the day when house keys were given to new owners on 31 May, right on the eve of the International Child Protection Day.
Pictured: Almaz Sharman hands the keys over to the “Balameken” project beneficiaries
Beneficiaries of the project were selected by the special commission formed by the Oblast Administration. These were families living in the ill-suited conditions – renting temporal huts, garages and barns, forced to squeeze together into small, poorly heated and uncomfortable premises.
“Thanks to the “Balameken” project, we now have our own house. I have two children who are second-degree disabled. Earlier, we had no facilities to take care of them, now I hope our difficulties are behind. We have waited long years for this day to come”, – told mother of nine Nurgul Zhanabayeva. The woman has been on the housing waiting list for six years.
Each of the fifty duplexes is designed for two families, each family has its own entrance and six acres of land. The houses were commissioned in fine finish, with bathroom fixtures, a gas boiler and a stove. In addition, gas, water and electricity supplies were connected.  Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and the Oblast Administration made sure that the little newcomers had everything for a comfortable, and most importantly, safe life.

Bulat Utemuratov Foundation builds houses in Arys

The Foundation allocated 2 million dollars for construction of houses and gave out monetary aid to 2,000 inhabitants of Arys.

Without exaggeration, the major national misfortune of summer 2019 in Kazakhstan was explosions at the ammunition depot in the territory of a military base near Arys in the Turkestan Oblast. The explosion rang out on 24 June, approximately at 09.20. The town population, about 40 thousand people, was evacuated over the next few hours. As a result, two people died, more than a hundred people were taken to hospital, and hundreds of families were left without a roof over their heads. The private charity foundation of businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov launched two projects at once to efficiently render aid to victims and to run the post-accident cleanup: first, the Foundation allocated 2 million dollars within the “Balameken” project for construction of houses for 100 families whose houses suffered from the explosions the most, and second, gave 60 million tenge as targeted financial assistance to 2,000 victims via ForteBank cards within the “Aid Card” project involving the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan.
Pictured: Construction of Balameken micro-district in Arys
Within the framework of the first area of ​​assistance, the Foundation will provide for and supervise the construction of 50 duplexes designed for two families each. Commissioning of ready-to-move-in houses, equipped with all necessary household appliances, kitchen equipment and bathroom fixtures, is scheduled for mid-September this year, the Foundation representatives report. Each house will have a plot of 10 acres, which will allow newcomers to set up a vegetable garden or an orchard. All communications and infrastructure necessary for a comfortable living is being laid out simultaneously with the construction of houses. The house construction project is a continuation of Bulat Utemuratov’s initiative “Balameken” which was first launched this summer in the Kyzylorda Oblast. Then, houses with all modern conveniences were given to 100 low-income multi-child families.
Pictured: Aid Card – joint project of Bulat Utemuratov Foundation, Red Crescent Society and ForteBank helping people suffered from natural and industrial disasters
The second area of assistance rendered to Kazakhstanis affected by explosions in Arys was distribution of targeted aid within the framework of the “Aid Card” project. Bulat Utemuratov Foundation allocated 60 million tenge, distribution of which was assisted by employees and volunteers of the Red Crescent Society. “Aid Card” is a modern, technological and efficient format of provision of the first humanitarian aid which allows to render the speediest and targeted assistance to the most vulnerable strata of population – multi-child families, pensioners, single mothers and disabled who are brought out to light by the Red Crescent Society volunteers. The needy are given aid in the amount of 30,000 tenge per each family member by wire transfer to the ForteBank “Aid Card”.
Pictured: Aid Cards distribution among Arys population
The “Aid Card” project was launched in spring 2018, at the height of the season of floods which are considered to be the most common natural risk in Kazakhstan. Then assistance under such a scheme was rendered to 863 families in the East Kazakhstan Oblast. The amount of assistance was 81,690,000 tenge. In 2019, monetary aid within the project was dispersed to those affected by spring floods in Karaganda, Akmola, North Kazakhstan and Almaty Oblasts for the total amount of over 56 million tenge.

“Aid Card”: How Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, the Red Crescent Society and ForteBank help Kazakhstanis affected by natural disasters

Floods are the most frequent natural disaster in Kazakhstan. Usually they happen in spring and affect East Kazakhstan, South Kazakhstan, Karaganda, Kostanay and Akmola Oblasts. Aid to the affected population is traditionally provided by local administrations, local departments for emergency situations and the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan. In 2018 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation became an active participant of disaster assistance too.
“In 2017 we managed to get personally acquainted with Bulat Utemuratov. We offered cooperation in various sectors, including in rendering aid to people in emergency situations”, says Aslan Tussupzhanov, Head of Communications, Red Crescent of Kazakhstan. “Jointly we came up with an effective format of dispersing targeted monetary aid to people affected by natural disasters, and Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and ForteBank also joined it in: in the event of emergency situations, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocates funds, our volunteers find among the affected people those from the socially vulnerable strata of population: multi-child families, single pensioners, single mothers, disabled and families with disabled get assistance in the amount of 30,000 tenge per each member of a family by bank transfer to the ForteBank “Aid Card” and can spend this money for what they really need.”
Volunteers of the Red Crescent Society and a beneficiary of the “Aid Card”
According to the Head of Communications of the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan, collection of humanitarian aid for victims of natural disasters is often carried out spontaneously and because of this aid sometimes turns out to be not needed and untimely. For example, people in one part of the country might have collected warm clothes and hygiene kits to support victims of a natural disaster, while actually the affected population might urgently need food products or something else. It happened in 2015, when serious floods overtook the Karaganda Oblast.
“Here, in Almaty, humanitarian aid collection centres were organised, where we were involved too. Sorting clothes, we noticed many good-for-nothing things. As a result, much of what was given to us had to be thrown out. Besides, sorting, logistics and distribution of such aid requires a lot of resources. Later we talked a lot about timeliness of aid and its relevance. Monetary aid is always more convenient both for people who want to donate and for people who are in trouble, – we will never be able to find out 100% what they really need”, – says Tussupzhanov.
Volunteers of the Red Crescent Society rendering aid to people affected by floods in the Karaganda Oblast
Money comes to the card, and it cannot be converted into cash but can only be spent in shops as a non-cash payment through POS-terminals. Validity of such “Aid Card” is 3 months. It is important to note that the card cannot be used for purchase of alcohol and tobacco products. In ForteBank, they note that the main expenses of the “Aid Card” recipients were made in grocery stores, pharmacies and construction supermarkets. The project was launched in spring 2018. Then, aid was received by 863 families (2,723 people) in the East Kazakhstan Oblast for the total amount of 81,690,000 tenge. In 2019 floods started in mid-April and lasted till mid-May. By the date people were rendered assistance for the total amount of around 36 million tenge. It was received by 1,000 people from Aksu-Ayuly Village (Karaganda Oblast), the city of Kokshetau and Staryi Koluton Village (Akmola Oblast) and the city of Petropavlovsk hit by floods this year. This is a good example of joint work of philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov acting through the foundation, the corporate sector acting through ForteBank, which covers the technical part and monitors the transparency of transactions, and a public organisation represented by Red Crescent who works directly with the public, providing the required information and reporting on the work done.

New building, fundamental knowledge and trilingualism: What changes are ahead of the Narxoz University?

A little bit over a year ago the position of the Narxoz University Rector was taken by Andrew Wachtel – a man with an unordinary biography and a new vision of the education of future. He was invited to work in Kazakhstan by Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov who, for many years now, has been actively developing his alma-mater and achieved a considerable progress here – corruption was eliminated, a large-scale scholarship Narxoz Challenge was introduced, the University infrastructure was renewed substantially. By today, Bulat Utemuratov has invested in development of Narxoz about 100 mln dollars.
“There are resources here, one can create something really marvelous. But this is a huge effort. It is necessary to raise the attractiveness of the University among students, persuade parents that their children will get competitive education here”, commented Andrew Wachtel on his decision to become the Narxoz University Rector.
The new Rector was assigned the task of carrying out a full transformation of the Narxoz University: modernize the educational programme, change approaches to tuition, create a favourable ecosystem in order to start teaching specialists of the future capable of critical thinking and adapting to the dynamically changing world. To achieve these, it will be necessary to freshen up the faculty staff, to introduce new education programmes and to build a new infrastructure. Andrew is a graduate of the famous Harvard University and also of the University of California in Berkley where he has got his PhD in 1987. After that he worked in the University of California in Los Angeles, in Stanford and in the Northwestern University in Illinois. In 2010 he started his work in Central Asia becoming the President of the American University in Central Asia.

The Narxoz building has become obsolete both morally and physically

It is planned to dramatically change the layout of the University, a huge 400-meter rectangle erected in the best traditions of the Soviet architecture. According to the design, the central part of the building will be demolished and a new, more contemporary, structure of the entrance space will appear on that place. Renovation of the building will be performed within the nearest 2.5 years. 
New Narxoz campus project
Reconfiguration of the space will help students feel freer within the walls of the University, will enable them to love this place and will inspire to spend more time in informal communication with professors and other students, to undertake research and entrepreneurship projects.
New Narxoz campus project
New Narxoz campus project

The University must train specialists who are able to adapt to the changing environment

The labour market in the modern world changes much faster than the educational institutions can adjust to it. Ten years ago no one knew that one of the most highly sought jobs would be the mobile application developer, because there were no applications as such. Same as now: we do not know what professions will be in demand in 2029 году – probably, these professions or supposed artifacts thereof have not come into existence yet.
Bulat Utemuratov with personal scholarship winners at the Narxoz University

Instead of a profession – fundamental knowledge

A higher education institution should, in the first instance, provide education which would allow a student to independently build up his or her profession in future, and to change the direction if the need be, to move with the times. Besides, there is too much information now, but no need to remember it anymore – one needs to be able to use it. And universities have no monopoly for knowledge anymore. That is what students will be taught in Narxoz after modification of educational programmes: to think critically, ask right questions, see phenomena as a big picture, identify the main and the secondary, find original sources.

What exactly will change?

1. Importance and prestige of the basic course will be boosted Every Kazakhstani university has a general education programme studied by students in their first year before moving on to the majors. Students of many universities consider this part of their education to be a chore needed just to check the box. Narxoz fundamentally disagrees with this for a range of reasons: these subjects not only give students a necessary basis that makes them comprehensively educated people but also allows to master the proper process of learning, the University believes. 2. The basic course will be formed anew To make the general education programme beneficial at its maximum, and the Narxoz graduates as competitive as possible not only in the Kazakhstani labour market but also internationally, the basic course will be formed anew. From next year it will include a compulsory course of programming for all specialities because the knowledge of Word and Excel is not sufficient for the digitalised world. The curricula of all Narxoz students will soon also include “Macroeconomics Theory”, “Ethics” and “Entrepreneurship”. 3. The format of studies will change In the classical or Soviet perception of higher education a professor is expected to share information in the lecturing format, and a student – to thoroughly take notes, memorise and narrate at exams. This model has lost its effectiveness in the modern world. All this information can be found on the Internet, often available publicly. What is really important? To consider concepts from different perspectives, apply in real life, structure and prioritize. That is why Narxoz students will come to classes having already read educational material, and in the audience they will dispute with other students of different backgrounds and with professors. And the tutor’s role will be to teach students to ask the right questions, put information in the context and find how to use it. 4. The curriculum will become trilingual Knowledge of the English language gives the graduates unconditional advantages in the global market of labour and further higher education. But teaching in English only would be flat-out wrong, they believe at Narxoz, if only because the majority of graduates stay to work in the country and must know all main concepts in local languages. That is why after re-formation of the education programme teaching of 70% of the curriculum will be done in English, and the rest 30% – in Kazakh or Russian. Thus, it will be possible to train trilingual specialists.

How ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace cultivates a love of fine arts in Kazakhstanis

The ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace project was launched in 2016. Then, at the initiative of the ForteBank major shareholder, businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov, they managed to return to the homeland 24 paintings by well-known Kazakhstani artists. Masterpieces by Kasteyev, Mullashev, Stepanov, Aitbayev, Tynsykbayev and several other renown artists, bought back from abroad, formed the foundation of the new art space’s collection and became accessible for viewing to all Kazakhstanis and visitors of the capital absolutely free of charge. The shareholder entrusted the curatorship of the ForteBank’s modern gallery with the Kulanshi Modern Fine Arts Centre headed by well-known Kazakhstani artist Leila Makhat.  The Bank’s partnership with the brightest art project of the capital was commented by Bulat Utemuratov in this way: “When love and skills come together, you can expect a masterpiece.” 
And Leila Makhat speaks about her creative work in Nur-Sultan in the following words: “Having returned to Astana in 2017, I understood that there was no such a site here which would satisfy me as an artist and an organiser of exhibitions. The pieces of art brought by me from other countries and produced by myself did not fit into the frameworks of the museums and galleries which then existed. When I studied at the Berlin Municipality Museum Academy, we had practical lessons in various museums and galleries. In Astana I started doing what I have learnt by then and how I saw it myself. You cannot just come and put paintings up, every project must have its concept.” The Kulanshi team still follows these principles when they implement projects of the Modern Fine Arts Centre and ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace.
Pictured: Chair of the Curatorial Board, Kulanshi Modern Fine Arts Centre, Leila Makhat (right)
Located in the headquarters of ForteBank in the city of Nur-Sultan at 8/1 Dostyk, the ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace gallery has been giving joy of permanent and temporary displays to inhabitants and guests of the capital for three years now. By present, it has already unveiled for city dwellers 432 pieces of art by various artists and hosted 415,000 visitors. Among the gallery’s permanent display of works in the printed graphics halls one can see originals of lithographs of such globally known geniuses as Picasso, Chagall and even Dali. And temporary displays are renewed every 2-3 months: ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace exhibits both talented Kazakhstani artists and foreign ones. Decision on whose pieces of work will be exhibited in the gallery is made by the Kulanshi international curatorial board. This is a public association of art experts, artists, designers, curators, archeologists and historians from Kazakhstan, Austria, Portugal, Poland, China and Belarus, who have an extensive experience and standing in the international art market. When a bid is received, the curatorial board looks in the first instance at the quality of a project. Artists, collections or creative groups do not obligatory have to be known in wide circles, as the essence of the gallery’s work is to maintain a high level of quality of the presented projects and to discover new names. According to the Kulanshi representatives, at the very beginning of the way Bulat Utemuratov has outlined such targets as: to develop the visual arts of Kazakhstan and to popularise the intelligent consumption of art products in the society.
“We have a lot of the arts, but there is no culture of art products consumption. Sometimes people do not understand that the arts are created for them to see, to consume and to use. Ask any person in your office: “How many paintings do you have at home?” Original paintings, not reproductions or posters. It will turn out that there is one or two, or neither at all. We have nomadic mentality, but we have been living the settled life for a long while now and already must accumulate not only material things which we can demise, but also moral and spiritual ones. For example, to have an original of a piece of work by a modern artist means that your grandson will own a painting by the artist who was popular and the value of this painting will increase a lot”, says Leila Makhat.
Pictured: Display of “Dancing in the Dark” by renown Italian artist Ron Di Scenza in the ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace
The artist herself displayed her works in the gallery in 2017 within the framework of her personal exhibition “Osyndamyn”. The same year personal exhibitions of worldwide renowned French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec “Paris, Paris…”, Japanese installation artist Yasuaki Onishi “Vertical Emptiness” and famous Italian Ron di Scenza “Dancing in the Dark” took place. And in 2018 the ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace gallery showed to Astana people several multi-projects: “Classicism, Realism, Romanticism … Art of Western Europe. XIX — XX centuries”, “Seven Veils of Eurasia”, a joint exhibition of French artist Denis Marcon and young artists of Kazakhstan titled L’ART DE DIALOGUE, as well as an exhibition of works by Kazakh artists from the rich personal collection of Nurlan Smagulov’s family. The Bank itself believes that the concept of having the gallery in its head office supremely well describes the main principles of one of the largest financial institutions of the country. The project combines support of talented youth, interest in development of the country’s educational system and active participation in social processes. The ForteBank Kulanshi ArtSpace gallery is much more than sponsorship, it is the targeted long-term collaboration for development of the Kazakhstani society. That is exactly why the Bank plans to continue investing in development and preservation of the cultural heritage of the country.

How was the World Autism Awareness Day marked in Kazakhstan?

Every year the 2nd of April is marked internationally as the World Autism Awareness Day – the tradition originated in 2007 at the initiative of the State of Qatar and was established by the UN General Assembly. Kazakhstan started marking this day five years ago at the initiative of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. The initiative is justified by the wide spread of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) – they are diagnosed for one out of 59 children in the world, according to the statistics of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and by the low awareness of this issue. Many people not only know nothing about the peculiarities of behavior and communication with ASD patients, but also do not assume the critical importance of early diagnosis and the big potential of correction programmes.
Pictured: Marat Aitmagambetov – Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation
“When we were just starting the work in this field, every 159th child in the world was born with autism”, said Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation Marat Aitmagambetov in his interview to the “Liter” Newspaper. “Last year every 59th child came into being with this pathology, and as for the beginning of this year – even every 49th. As international experts assess, there are already over 60,000 children born this year suffering from autism. In Kazakhstan – over 3,500.”
It is for four years now, that the problems of the children with ASD in Kazakhstan have been most actively addressed by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. Through its anchor programme “Autism. One world for all”, the Foundation set up a network of autism centres in six cities of Kazakhstan (Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Kzylorda, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Aktobe and Uralsk). These centres use the system of early diagnosis and timely support rendered to the children with ASD and their families, as well as their social adaptation through introduction of advanced western techniques developed by the University of California and the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. Founder Bulat Utemuratov has already allocated for the project over 12.5 million dollars and plans to continue investing, as the centres provide support to the children with ASD and their families free of charge – such assistance has already been rendered to over 5,000 children.

Autism is not a life sentence

Every year Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation holds many proactive actions in anticipation of the World Autism Awareness Day, to draw attention of the target audience to the issue and to raise awareness of the wider public through media and social networks. In 2019 a video was filmed where talented guys undertaking correction programmes in the Assyl Miras centres participated: Alisher Akimbayev, Aslan Reimbay and Aruzhan Iliyas told their stories to Kazakhstanis.
Pictured: a scene from the video – the story of Alisher


In addition, six cities of Kazakhstan hosted open educational workshops for those who wanted to know more about this issue. Nobody knows the exact causes of wide spread of the ASD, but the Assyl Miras specialists would like to deliver one key message to everyone: autism is not a life sentence. There are effective techniques of adaptation and development of  basic skills for children with ASD at present. Such children can gain vitally important skills of communication, socialization, educability, development of talents – and live the full life.
Pictured: six cities of Kazakhstan hosted open workshops on the ASD topic
A 5.5. km charity run was arranged in the city of Kzylorda at the initiative of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation. Its purpose was raising people’s awareness about ASD symptoms in children and about importance of early diagnosis and correction. The Kzylorda Assyl Miras Autism Centre was opened in June 2016, and by now over 500 families have already approached it for assistance.
Pictured: charity run in Kzylorda devoted to the World Autism Awareness Day
Those living in Nur-Sultan also celebrated this important day. A well-known Kazakhstani artist Beibit Assemkul held a painting master class in The Ritz Carlton Hotel for children with ASD and their families. Organisers of the event were The Ritz Carlton Hotel Astana, the Nur-Sultan City Assyl Miras Centre and the Art Masters London educational project in the field of fine arts.

Burabike-2018 raised 205 million tenge. What was received by beneficiaries for this amount through Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation?

It is for the sixth running year now that Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation has been actively participating in organisation of the Burabike annual charity sports and music festival and then spending the raised funds to purchase vitally important medical equipment and to give it to hospitals and clinics in regions of Kazakhstan. We talked to Foundation Director Marat Aitmagambetov to find out how and when charity recipients are chosen, how efficiency of assistance rendered is evaluated and what equipment they managed to supply to hospitals at the account of the record-setting 205 million tenge raised in 2018.
Pictured: Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, Marat Aitmagambetov

How is the list of Burabike charity recipients formed?

The list of charity recipients of the Burabike charity festival is formed every year before the event is held, so that during the festival the organisers already know what medical institutions they will give equipment to in the current year. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation receives letters from potential charity recipients, listing equipment required, throughout the year and makes a decision in spring or early summer, being based on several criteria: focus of medical assistance, availability of children’s, delivery, gynecological and perinatal departments, size of population and distance from an oblast centre. The list of equipment required is determined by a request from the hospital administration, needs of the medical institution and amount of funds raised due to the festival. The Foundation officials visit potential beneficiaries to make certain of the hospital needs.

What hospitals have got equipment this year?

Burabike beneficiaries in 2018 were:
  • Merke Central District Hospital, Zhambyl Oblast;
  • Maternity Home in Zharkent Town, Almaty Oblast;
  • Rural Hospital in Agadyr Village, Karaganda Oblast;
  • Alakol Central District Hospital, Almaty Oblast;
  • Timiryazevo Central District Hospital, North Kazakhstan Oblast;
According to the Foundation Director, Marat Aitmagambetov, historically, starting from the very first Burabike, charity recipients were mainly children’s medical institutions at the oblast level. But in the course of time the management of the Foundation came to a conclusion that the government of Kazakhstan has initiated several programmes which promoted considerable improvements in facilities of the oblast level hospitals. This allowed the Foundation to go a level down and to focus on assistance to district and rural hospitals which were in much more need of modern vitally important equipment.
“Kazakhstan is a vast country. An average Kazakhstani oblast comprises an area of several European states. Quite often inhabitants of our villages and districts have to go hundreds kilometres to get quality medical assistance. This might be complicated, especially if we talk about newborns or babies under one year of age, – many of them can’t be brought to oblast centres fast enough. Last year we decided to deliver to these central district and rural hospitals, and founder Bulat Utemuratov and the Board of Trustees supported this decision”, says Marat Aitmagambetov. 

What equipment did they receive?

As Burabike participants and organisers wished, the focus was always placed on delivery of vitally important children’s equipment: artificial lung ventilation units, padded platforms, humidicribs, bedside monitors and other intensive care equipment. It was decided to stay on the same track in future too – at the district and rural levels. For example, in 2018 two hospitals – in Merke and Agadyr villages – received mobile intensive care units on basis of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-315 cars priced at 42 million tenge. This is more than an ambulance car:  mobile intensive care units are equipped with modern high efficiency instrumentation, including defibrillator, artificial lung ventilation unit and many other medical appliances which allow to support the patient’s life for quite a long period of time. These mobile intensive care units will be used to go to remote areas to take a patient in a serious condition and to bring him to a rural or another hospital having a possibility to render assistance on the way in case of life threatening and to save the life.
Pictured: Transfer of a mobile intensive care unit to the Merke District Hospital
In addition to mobile intensive care units, Burabike-2018 beneficiaries also received equipment for intensive care and life support for newborns and parturient women. For example, the Merke Hospital got an open intensive care system for newborns, with Infa Warmer i 103 monitor made by Atom Medical Corporation (Japan), and a nasal breathing system for newborns; Timiryazevo Hospital – an artificial lung ventilation apparatus Bellavista 1000 Е (Switzerland) for premature newborns; Zharkent Maternity Home – an anesthetic breathing apparatus Genesis, of Hersill, S.L. make (Spain), and Agadyr Village Hospital – a fetal monitor Fetus BFM-900 (Korea) for determination of intrauterine fetus condition during pregnancy and delivery. This is not the entire list of equipment delivered at the account of funds raised at Burabike-2018. There were also high tech apparatuses for examination and diagnosis, surgery kits, syringe dosing devices, padded platforms and a lot more delivered. First reports from head doctors of these hospitals will be made after six months of equipment operation – this is a compulsory requirement of the Foundation for making decisions on beneficiaries. The Foundation management happily shares the stories of beneficiaries of previous years.
Pictured: Transfer of medical equipment to the Zharkent Maternity Home by Bulat Utemuratov Foundation
“In 2016 we supplied two humidicribs to the Kzylorda Oblast Hospital which covers 7 districts”, tells Marat Aitmagambetov. “Humidicrib is a closed system of life support which is used mainly for the developmental care of premature newborns in serious conditions. Each of humidicribs cost about 30 million tenge. In the estimation of our charity recipients, these humidicribs allowed to reduce the newborn death rate in those seven districts two-fold”.
In 2013, when Burabike was organised for the first time, all funds raised – and that was 11.5 million tenge – were used to purchase equipment for the children’s intensive care department of the Kokshetau Oblast Perinatal Centre. In 2019 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation continues getting comments and reports from the Centre. According to Yulia Ivaschenko, Head of the Children’s Intensive Care Department, an average of 238 babies are born in the Oblast Perinatal Centre annually, out of whom 75% are premature. They need therapy, ancillary support, non-invasive lung ventilation etc. Before the Centre received the equipment, only 10-12% of babies survived; the equipment made it possible for 67% of newborns with the extremely low weight (from 500 grams to 1 kg) to survive in 2017-2018. Thanks to the new equipment, from 2015 the Perinatal Centre can admit babies in serious conditions from all districts of the Oblast.
Last year an X-ray diagnostic system was transferred to the Petropavlovsk Children’s Oblast Hospital: ”This is the first such digital apparatus here in Petropavlovsk. We are especially thankful as this apparatus is installed in the children’s multi-profile hospital. This equipment allows for the fast and quality diagnostics of children, with less radiation exposure. It is safe for a child. We have dreamt of such an equipment for a long while. If with the old machine we waited for 30-40 minutes for the picture to develop, now it takes just seconds. We get quality pictures. And this apparatus also makes it possible to do a complete X-ray scanning, for example of the entire vertebral column. From January 2018 we have examined 3,303 children and carried out check studies for 6,600 children of 0-18 years of age. Of all our patients, 38% are from rural areas”, told Lazzat Iskakova, Head of the X-Ray Diagnostics Department.
A very kind-hearted story happened in the Akmola Oblast Children’s Hospital too. In 2016, the Charity Tour de Burabay (as the fourth Burabike was called) raised over 100 million tenge – 47.7 million tenge were used to re-equip and repair the gas supply system of the Akmola Oblast Children’s Hospital, and the rest of the money – to support a Central District Hospital in the Kzylorda Oblast. According to Head Doctor Yelena Ivanova, who worked in the Intensive Care Department at the moment of the equipment delivery, after gas supply was fixed in the hospital, all employees “breathed a sigh of relief”. The old supply system was so noisy that continuous presence in the department was unbearable for both doctors and patients – especially for newborns of 0-28 days old who needed complete rest. Now it became more comfortable to work and to get medical assistance, and installation of medical equipment allowed to continuously monitor patients in the real-time mode. Dosing devices which automatically supply the required medicines in prescribed quantities considerably improved the quality of medical assistance rendered to little patients. Marat Aitmagambetov noted that the Foundation staff strives to transfer equipment as publicly and transparently as possible: they invite local authorities and journalists, not only for the charity festival participants and philanthropists to see their contribution to the good history of Burabike but also to raise awareness among clinics and hospitals all over the country about the opportunity to get the needed modern medical equipment, and to attract attention of local administrations to the needs of medical institutions.
“It is quite often revealed that local authorities not always know what this hospital is in need of. We have examples when we delivered some medical equipment and following that funds were allocated out of the state budget for purchase of another type of equipment. The procedure of transfer itself serves as an impetus for local authorities, attracts attention to the medical institution, and is a message for other hospitals that support can also come through Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation in later years”, shares Aitmagambetov.
Registration for sports and music festival Burabike-2019 is already open on website.

Tent camp, open air and bicycle racing. What changes are in store for the Burabike Fest in 2019?

Talking about what the main charity event of Kazakhstan will look like this year. In 2019 the event will for the first time take place under the Burabike Fest name (previously it was called Burabike and the Charity Tour de Burabay), the organising committee told. The Fest part was introduced due to the expansion of the programme and a considerable increase in numbers of those willing to take part: from 130 people in 2013 to 2,300 people in 2018. For six years Burabike has grown from a charity regional bike ride up to the national music and sports festival which has no equals in Kazakhstan. The format provides for both family recreation and youth drive in open air of the unique resort Borovoe.
Pictured: Participants of Burabike-2018 at their start point
The festival will become a two-day event. For six running years the event was held within one day. The bike ride took place immediately upon the registration. First riders to start were traditionally the leading inspirer of the festival, Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov, and General Manager of the Astana Pro Team Alexander Vinokurov accompanied by other prominent businessmen, public figures and civil servants. They were followed by all bike ride participants who leisurely covered a distance of 25-30 km. Having made their finish, the participants received commemorative medals, enjoyed the picnic and the musical programme and then the festival was over. In 2019 the organising committee offers a more saturated two-day programme and ambitious changes in the format of holding sports runs and the charity auction. Now two runs are planned through the festival programme: a bicycle racing on day one and a bicycle ride on day two. The bicycle racing will be for trained and professional athletes. They will be offered two distances – 35 km and 65 km. The organisers will introduce the RFID system to track the results of participants and to make winners known. On day two anyone willing to do so can take part in the 11 km bicycle ride with no age and sportive limitations. Thus, the sports part of the event will give chances both to take part in the competition and to make a slow bicycle ride along a new bike route.  The charity auction will also be held twice: on the first day at the gala dinner for the festival participants accommodated in the Rixos Borovoe hotel, and on the second day – during the daytime concert music programme in the open air. Doing so the organisers plan to involve more festival participants in charity, giving them the opportunity to participate in the auction and to adjoin its good-natured history.
“Formerly the initial value of lots which were placed on auction was rather high and not all those who wished could battle for the lots. Division into two auctions will allow to not only raise more money to help children’s medical institutions but also to involve more people into the charity auction participation. The new format will stimulate more participants to feel having a hand in a common goodwill cause, will help to develop the spirit of noble calling and engagement”, says Leya Khamitova, Marketing Director, Rixos Borovoe Hotel, organiser of the Burabike Fest.
Pictured: Argon-18 bicycle was sold for 25 million tenge at the Burabike-2018 auction
A distinct interest of the public is always attracted by lots placed on the Burabike auction. They, for example, always include rackets and uniforms with autographs of renown Kazakhstani and foreign tennis players, master classes and trips to world tournaments given by the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, bicycles with autographs of famous bicyclists given by the Astana Pro Team members and Burabike ambassador Alexander Vinokurov. For several running years there have been auction lots placed by popular boxers: signed gloves of Gennadiy Golovkin and Serik Sapiyev. Lots also include pieces of art, gadgets, certificates for luxury goods produced by various partner companies. And the most expensive lot for the whole history of the auction was paintings by children of the Shchuchinsk Orphanage bought by philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov for 30 million tenge in 2016. This lot was not beaten even by Pele’s gear. Olympic champion Alexander Vinokurov has been the Burabike ambassador and one of its most active participants for several years now. Members of the Astana Pro Team, where he is the general manager, take part in sports runs and place lots on the auction:
«Holding such events as Burabike is very important both from the charity point of view and for the development of bicycling culture and popularisation of healthy lifestyle in Kazakhstan. We can annually see that this charity ride gathers more and more participants and our team joyfully supports this beautiful initiative. It is always a big pleasure for us to take part in it, to bring here our racers, to place lots on behalf of the “Astana” bicycle team. Sums of money raised here during the charity auction are quite substantial indeed, we can see the results of these contributions every year and, of course, this really inspires. Burabike has already became an inherent part of our calendar, and I would like to express my big gratitude to the organisers for arranging such an important social event at the highest possible level”, commented Vinokurov on his participation.
Sponsor packages is one more novelty which, according to the organisers’ idea, is to increase the amount of funds raised for charity purposes. Sponsor packages will be offered in four categories from one million up to 10 million tenge and available to all big companies in Kazakhstan and the CIS. All funds raised during the Burabike Fest are spent to purchase the needed equipment for children’s medical institutions of Kazakhstan. The final amount of the charity aid is a sum of money received through the charity auction, entry fees of the festival participants and sales of corporate sponsor packages.
Pictured: Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation delivers medical equipment worth 22 million tenge to the maternity home of Zharkent
«In 2018 the amount raised thanks to Burabike was 205 million tenge spent to buy two mobile intensive care units, artificial lung ventilation devices, newborn reanimation system and other vitally important equipment for the Merke, Timiryazevo and Alakol central district hospitals, the maternity home of Zharkent town, and the rural hospital of Agadyr village. We account for the funds raised and deliver the equipment in presence of Kazakhstani mass media so that everything would be as transparent as possible and the Burabike participants could see their contribution in the common goodwill cause”, noted Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.
Almost 700 million tenge was raised for these six years, thereby perinatal centres, orphanages and children’s rehabilitation centres all over Kazakhstan could receive the required equipment. The granted equipment is actively used in their daily practice. Oleg Zaviyalov, Chief Doctor of the North Kazakhstan Oblast Children’s Hospital, told that for 5 months of 2018 they held 1,992 X-ray examinations using the fixed digital radiographic system Samsung XGEO GU60A given to the hospital by the Foundation and this allowed to increase the accuracy of diagnosing. The Kzylorda Oblast Perinatal Centre received two humidicribs for premature newborns in 2014. On annual average, they perform 412 carriages between departments of the maternity home and to other medical institutions when complicated surgeries are required. One humidicrib is permanently located in the intensive care unit in case of urgent rides and flights to remote areas, and the second humidicrib is in the delivery department, in the stabilization room. This year the Burabike Fest organizing committee expects more participants than in the last one. To remind, in 2018 the registration had to be closed early due to reaching the 2,500 people limit of participants. The organisers plan to increase the numbers of participants at the account of geographical expansion and involvement of participants from neighbouring Russia, Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan who, in addition to racing, can also enjoy the natural beauty of Kazakhstan and get to know this tourist destination better. All conditions are being created for this. For example, now a tent camp will be set up for the Burabike Fest at the area adjacent to Rixos Borovoe for those who want to spend the two festival days in a maximum vicinity of nature. Tent camp residents will also be able to enjoy a short individual evening programme.
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