Providing Educational Opportunities for Underprivileged Turkmenistan Youth

August 12th, 2013 | Story


Bahar Roziyeva always dreamed of a career in international relations, but knew that she would first have to perfect her English language skills in order to fulfill her professional dreams. In 2011, she completed secondary school in Mary, Turkmenistan, and applied to the English department at a local university but was not admitted. Disheartened, Bahar felt that her career ambitions were unattainable.

A few months later Bahar was fortunate enough to meet an outreach volunteer from the Mary City Youth Center. The volunteer told Bahar about the activities and opportunities available at the Youth Center and invited her to visit.

Bahar accepted the invitation, and at first participated in several sessions about overcoming life’s challenges, which were conducted by the Youth Center psychologist. She also attended sessions on healthy lifestyles, such as the benefits associated with physical activity and stress management, healthy eating, the consequences of cigarette smoking, alcohol, and drug use; these sessions are all conducted by peer educators. Bahar also participated in sports and HIV awareness events. Her involvement in Youth Center activities increased her confidence and her career ambitions were renewed.

Bahar registered for English classes at the Youth Center. She attended classes regularly and worked hard to improve her mastery of the language. With time and help from Youth Center staff, Bahar gained enough confidence to apply to a college in the United Kingdom. After six months of studying English at the Youth Center, Bahar was accepted and will now study in London.

“I am thankful to the Youth Center because it helped me to achieve my goal and to return to my bright future.” –Bahar Roziyeva, Mary Youth Center beneficiary

The Turkmenistan Youth Centers Project, co-funded by USAID and Chevron Nebitgaz, coordinates activities inside the Youth Centers in the cities of Mary and Ashgabat. The centers provide daily services to hundreds of youth in a client-friendly atmosphere, enabling Bahar and others like her to gain knowledge and acquire skills that help them stay healthy and fulfill their goals for brighter futures.

Bahar has since completed her studies in London, where she realized her childhood dream: a degree in International Relations. She hopes to use her education, experiences, and energy to support other young people in the same way she was supported at the Mary City Youth Center. Bahar returned to Turkmenistan and is currently involved in organizing the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which will be held in Ashgabat on September 17–27, 2017.

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