For many young people around the world, July is a month to celebrate the end of their school year. They can relax and look forward to the summer ahead. For 16 and 17 year olds in Kyrgyzstan though, there’s not much to celebrate. In fact it’s the moment they’ve been dreading. They won’t be going back to school, and it won’t be the start of an exciting, successful future.
Many live in orphanages. When their time in education comes to an end, they’re no longer under the care of the education system or security of where they’ve been living, and are officially labelled ‘care-leavers’.
For these care leavers –
- -there is almost no legal provision and therefore no state body is able to support them
- -more than half interviewed by Oasis Kyrgyzstan had nowhere to live since leaving the orphanage
- -and they become highly vulnerable to involvement in crime, prostitution, trafficking, and alcohol and drug addiction.
- As a result of what they have to face after leaving school, many young care-leavers end up in prison or trying to commit suicide.
Oasis Kyrgyzstan is one of only two organisations in the entire country that work to improve the lives of these young people, and help them to reach their potential that they’ve worked so hard to gain.
One such way is a four-day Oasis camp that takes place during summer for young people leaving these institutions. 28 young people get the chance to enjoy games, activities, go swimming in Lake Issyk-Kul and learn about how to start to living independently – hopefully helping them to overcome some of the challenges they’re likely to face when they leave.
On a more long-term basis – Oasis Kyrgyzstan recently submitted recommendations and made a presentation to the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights to improve the legislation for care leavers. We hope this is going push the government into improving care for care-leavers!