Young in Kyrgyzstan

a tale about life inclusion


Young in Kyrgyzstan

Akylai, aged 21, and Chynara, aged 20, have the same wish. ‘We

need more understanding and more opportunities,’ the two

students agree. ‘You always hear that we young people have no

ideas. But that’s simply not true. Society needs to believe in us

and listen to us.’ To date there has been far too little of this in

the Kyrgyz Republic. Twenty years after the Central Asian state

gained its independence from the former Soviet Union, it is still

going through a transitional period. The standard of living is low,

unemployment high. Many people feel they have no prospects of

a better life.

This is particularly true of the 14-28 year olds who account

for about one third of the population. They face unemployment,

poverty and an education and training system that is ill

equipped to meet their needs. The youth promotion structures

in place during the Soviet era have collapsed. In the ensuing

vacuum young people have few opportunities to become

involved in the country’s political and societal life, and to insist

on their rights. The true extent of the frustration this has fuelled

became clear in 2010, when young people played a prominent

role in violent clashes. The events were a wake-up call for politicians.

A Ministry of Youth Affairs was created. It has since been

renamed the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Youth. The aim

is to build youth work structures in the regions, establish youth

centres and actively foster the involvement of young people in

the societal and political life of the country. The ministry, however,

does not have nearly the technical and human resources

it needs. Coordination between state and non-governmental

stakeholders is poor and throughout the country there are too

few youth workers with the requisite pedagogical training.


From: The young generation in Kyrgyzstan – the key to development

The greatest impact – getting people to rethink their ideas. Those responsible

within government, the administration and relevant organisationsmust be much more aware of the concerns of young people andstarting to rethink their ideas. The young generation is seen as the key to economic, social and political development in Kyrgyzstan. Young people are both the target

group and active stakeholders in youth work. It has also become clear that it is not enough to organise an occasional

party or football match. Good youth work cannot operate on a one-off basis, but must be sustainable and based on permanent structures. Developing this fundamental modern understanding

of youth work is the project’s most important concern.

Some videos about being young in Kyrgyzstan

Abandonment of children by poor families is a problem in Kyrgyzstan, and life after the orphanage is difficult.


The young guy Igor, who himself has grown up in an orphanage, has started an organisation to help these young people who are "thrown out" from the homes when they turn 18 years.

The European House is trying to establish an EU Erasmus+ project with Igor and his organisation in 2018.


Here Igor is together with TEH coordinator Lera.

By the way, did you know that eSport is growing in Kyrgyzstan?

"Now Playing" is a documentary about eSports in Kyrgyzstan. A thesis project submitted to the Journalism and Mass Communication Department of American University of Central Asia in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

Questions about being young in Kyrgyzstan

1. What do you think is similar for young people's life in Kyrgyzstan and in Denmark? What is different?

2. What do you think would be the most difficult for you if you had to live in Kyrgyzstan?

3. Inequality is not just about economy, but it is also about social capital and cultural capital. What does that mean?


4. How many children are living outside their home in Denmark? How many in Kyrgyzstan?

5. What ideas do you have to improve life for abandonned youth in Kyrgyzstan? How? (email TEH with your ideas)

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