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It all started with a promise

February 01, 2002 | 0 Comments | 2 Min Read

By Amy Redwine Amy served in Chui Oblast.

It all started with a promise

It all started with a promise. A promise to Rahat’s mother that I would somehow find a way to get him to the United States to study. I was apprehensive about that promise, not sure how I was going to keep my end of the deal, but when I got back home after 2 ½ years in Kyrgyzstan, I had to try. I asked my family for help getting him to the US and they were all very supportive. During the process of enrolling him at my old alma mater, I was given not one, but two slots for exchange students and thus, Alina ended up in the US, too, for the 2001-2002 school year.

In February 2002, I decided to go to Kyrgyzstan for a visit. It was wonderful and everything was pretty much as I remembered it. I had taken my video camera and when I got back, my family actually wanted to watch all 18 hours or so of video. There, they saw my kids for the first time. My mother fell in love with one in particular, Lena. She became determined to get Lena in school as, at the time, she was still in the village helping her grandparents milk cows, though her heart was absolutely set on studying at American University of Kyrgyzstan. My mother raised the money for her tuition within 12 hours of sending a group mail to all her friends.

One thing led to another and we couldn’t help Lena if we weren’t helping this one and that one. Now, we are helping 11 of my former students from the village in varying degrees. Mostly we are helping them to get through school, but we have also been helping some of the women in my village by ordering Kyrgyz handicrafts from them and selling them to people in the US. ½ of the profits go to helping the kids with tuition and the other half goes to the women. We have also set up a mini-Heifer Project and have given 8 cows to needy families in my village.

This endeavor has been of no small sacrifice to anyone, not least my family, who continue to support my cause because they know how much it means to me and more importantly, they know how much it means to the kids. We are helping these young adults become important and productive citizens of Kyrgyzstan and the world, and that is worth the sacrifice every time.


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Friends of Kyrgyzstan is a registered 501(c)3 organization and is not associated with the United States Peace Corps. The views and information expressed here are our own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of either the United States Peace Corps or it’s volunteers.