While others think, I act: the success story of a social entrepreneur from Kyzylorda


In Kyzylorda, there is a center for autism and speech correction, aimed at helping children with mental disorders, delayed psycho-speech development and autism spectrum disorder.

Today, the Center accepts more than 46 «special» children every month and proves its effectiveness: over 11 months of active work of the Center, more than 80% of beneficiaries have positive dynamics in learning, correction, improvement of speech and behavior, physical training, adaptation to society, preparation for school and other indicators.

It's hard to believe that just a year ago, the Center for autism and speech correction was just a project written on paper. But thanks to the dedication, continuous work and desire to create a real institution that will help rehabilitate children with special needs, the center not only opened, but also became one of the best in the region.

It all started with a personal story. Rosalia Rakhimova-head of the private Foundation "Rosalia and Emir", Director of the Center for autism and speech correction. She is also a strong woman and the mother of a «special» boy Emir, who was diagnosed with autism a few years ago.

Like any mother, Rosalia Rakhimova wanted to give her son the best: the best specialists, the best rehabilitation, the best education. And in search of all this, she traveled all over Kazakhstan and even some centers of Russia.

«We have faced with different challenges along the way: the queues, the wait, the high cost of services, long distances. And then the idea was born to open such center in Kyzylorda, make it accessible to children and their parents, and gather good specialists,»  says Rosalia Rakhimova.

From the idea to its full implementation, the young mother went a long way in three years. All this time, she studied, established partnerships with other centers, and improved her skills. The last push for Rosalia Rakhimova was the participation and victory in the competition of grants for social entrepreneurship «Әreket» from the Foundation for the development of social projects «Samruk-Kazyna Trust».

«It was a huge experience for us in terms of getting new knowledge: we studied social entrepreneurship in detail, we can say that we studied literally day and night, each time learning something interesting. In addition, we took master classes in marketing and PR, Finance, presentations, and so on. At the end of the training, we defended our project, became one of the winners and received a grant to develop our business,»  says Rosalia.

In the Kyzylorda region, the project of Rosalia Rakhimova was one of the first to apply the format of social entrepreneurship to solve the social problem of children with ASD, similar diagnoses and epilepsy. After 2 months of operation, the Center for autism and speech correction moved to full self-sufficiency, helping to solve the social issue and reducing the dependence of NCOs on external funding.

«Social entrepreneurship is quite a new phenomenon for Kazakhstan, but despite the difficulties, we see that the state and donor organizations already have a high interest in the development of this type of entrepreneurship»  says the head of the Center.

To date, the «Rosalia and Emir» Private Fund solves the issue at the regional level in the education sector - it is the training and correction of children with mental disorders and epilepsy. The center employs speech therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, physical therapy specialists, and AV therapists. The center's teaching staff conducts correctional, developmental, and educational work with children to prepare them for everyday life. Classes are held in several classrooms, where all the necessary didactic, pedagogical and sports equipment is available.

Visiting the Center costs from 10 000 to 45 000 tenge per month – and this is the minimum price for the Kyzylorda region and the city of Kyzylorda. In addition, every 10th child is trained at the center on a free basis - these are children from socially vulnerable families, children left without guardians and children of mothers who find themselves in a difficult life situation. In just one year of operation, 30 children received services for free.

It is worth noting that in addition to providing services to children, the Center works with parents, uniting them in a community. Such assistance was not previously provided to parents of «special» children in the Kyzylorda region. For parents of children attending the Center has become a platform for communication and exchange of experience with each other, and a place of emotional relief.

Answering the question, what is her secret of success, Rosalia Rakhimova emphasizes:

«My secret is deliberate actions with a vision of the future and analysis of the results obtained. All this, together with mandatory communication, constant training brings the positive effect that we see».

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