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International News: U3A in Kazakhstan 2020

The Following is written by the members of U3A Kazakhstan: Gulbarshin Kassimanova, Kulziya Tanirbergenova, Balausa Kalganova 
Translated by: Anara Zhakupova

In Nursultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan the international movement U3A is gaining strength. This organization is led by Gulbarshin Kasimanova, an active participant in many voluntary actions and events held by the Akimat (City Department or Mayor office) of the Saryarka region and the other city authorities.

The goal of Astana U3A is to educate and stimulate people of retirement age to an active life. This is expressed in the creation of hobby groups, such as learning English, dancing clubs, participating in choral singing, etc.

At the moment, more than 100 people have become members. They are united by the desire to spend time in interesting communication with peers, doing what they love. Right now we are busy pushing back the concept of “weak old age” at last by 20 years. Our members are cheerful, they have enough energy for many things: for the family, and for social activities and hobbies.

During the quarantine period, our members have organized the free delivery of food packages to families in need, transferred food and essentials for flood victims in Maktaaral district.

A lot of work is done in Astana U3A in terms of enlightenment, celebrating historical dates and participating in the cultural life of the capital. For example, Zh.Kalieva presented very interesting information about the history of the city of Akmolinsk-Tselinograd- Akmola-Astana-Nursultan (all the former official names of the capital city of Kazakhstan, now Nur-Sultan.

She conducted this historical and photo-archive television tour in accordance with the National Program “Tuan Zher” – “History and culture of the native land”.

With great enthusiasm, our members celebrated the 75th anniversary of the End of WWII. In the special Whatsapp group Astana U3A group members shared memories, portraits, photograph of loved ones who participated in the war.

What attracts people to participate in U3A? This is, first of all, the moral and psychological climate in the team. People feel that each of them is valuable and everyone’s opinion is important.

The unity of the members is greatly facilitated by 2 Whatsapp chats, one of which is informative, where official information is sent, and the other is for communication, where discussions of any issues are often held, people share their opinions and thoughts.

It has become a great tradition in our U3A to celebrate collective birthdays, where several people born in a particular month celebrate the event together. In an informal setting, people fully open up, joke merrily, sing and dance! Here age is not a hindrance to be merry and happy about life.

Kazakhstan U3A members recall with pleasure how merrily they partied for the 100th anniversary of the Komsomol and how they celebrated 2020 New Year.

The chat was a great moral support during the period of COVID19 isolation. People shared tips from their personal experiences. The pinnacle of this moment was the creation of a flash mob “Biz birgemiz!”