Born on 11th January 1996, Ainagul Amatbekova was a small girl with big dreams. She would spend her time thinking about the professions she would like to pursue as an adult, including teacher, stewardess and lawyer. It’s clear from the kind of professions that she aspired to have that she values education and has a strong character. Ainagul knew the value of work, when she was still a child she took on an internship role at a local beauty salon, she was aiming to one day have her own business. This is what inspired her to pursue her degree in English and Business when she was 18. Shortly after her activism really began.
A year after starting her degree, at 19, Ainagul took part in a volunteer campaign, campaigning to end violence against women. This campaign spanned both her home of Kyrgyzstan and the neighbouring regions. It was run in cooperation with UN Women and a local community youth group. Through participating in this campaign her interest in social justice issues and women’s rights grew exponentially. Through the organization peace sight she has been writing about and campaigning against street harassment, poor representation of women in media, gender based discrimination and violence. Her campaign “Say Stop to Street Harassment” is one of her most visible so far.
One of the reasons I am so amazed by Aniagul is because of how eloquent she is and how passionate she is when it comes to writing about such serious issues. She clearly explains in her writing what the problem is, why it is present in society and what can be done to tackle it. As a young woman, Ainagul as a vocal campaigner and educated young woman inspires other girls to have ambition and pursue their passions. She is also a force for change, educating those on the issues who may otherwise be unaware.
Ainagul is now in her twenties and I firmly believe she will continue to achieve great things, and be a force for good in central Asia for girls and women alike. I think this quote is the most encompassing of what Ainagul stands for and believes in: “There are many social issues in Kyrgyzstan which have been ignored by society. These include a lack of respect for human rights, gender inequality, and violence towards women and children.”. She knows there is a problem and she fully intends to tackle it and inspire others to do the same.
Check out this cool article by Ainagul which provides a glimpse of the work of Novi Ritm: “A graphic threat: using comics to combat stereotyping in Kyrgyzstan.”