WIZARDS OF OZ, OR ONE DAY AT SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE…

WIZARDS OF OZ, OR ONE DAY AT SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE…

DO YOU BELIEVE IN FAIRYTALES?

If you ever want to make an event for children, you have to know two main rules: first, prepare thoroughly; second, know that everything will not go as planned!

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In our case these rules worked like clockwork so that even the wicked witches while hiding from the kids would repeat: OH MY GOD!

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In my childhood the words “witches/demons/wizards” would usually ignite so much fear and excitement, but not now. The kids of SOS children’s village look at the world of fairytales with open eyes: they are not afraid of the green-faced scary villains. Instead, they would circle me, Zhanna and Raushan  (the wicked witches of OZ country) every time we would approach them.

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“I am holding her broom, you, guys, attack her from behind!” The kids were shouting when they saw my green-faced dark figure. The wicked witch had to run. Should we say that WE were a little bit startled from the very beginning?

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PLAN B: SOS from the children’s village!

However, I skipped ahead. That morning was wonderful: neither hot nor cold. We came to the place in advance to prepare ourselves for the “Oz quest-game”: we were dressing up, making the costumes, repeating the words and doing make-up laughing at the reflection in the mirror. Everything went according to the plan…

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“The kids are already waiting for you!”- A village’s worker asked us to begin the game and we moved into positions: Ellie (Anar Issayeva) and her dog Toto (my little brother Azamat) went right to the children and started the quest while a Tin man (Kanat Bazaraly), the witches, winged monkeys, the Cowardly lion (Yura Prokopenko) and Scarecrow (Aset Abuov) were hiding in the playground waiting for their turn to perform.

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However, five minutes later we were already confused by the noise and shouts that came bursting out of the meadow where children were playing the game.

“Why he, not me?” “I don’t like this name!” “Oh, no, don’t touch this!” “Put it on its place, please!” Anara’s (Ellie) tender voice now was working on the maximum volume. “Fortunately, I am not playing Ellie”- Aigerim Kosheken whispered right behind me.  Now we were enjoying being just a witch and a winged monkey, whose mission was to scare and startle the kids.

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“Don’t dwell on the script and the roles! What we need now is to control the situation” – Yura “the Cowardly Lion” was already unfolding a new tactics as if it was not the playground, but the real battle field and we were the guerrillas with the war paint on the faces. Plan “A” – the good children doing everything right as we want it – had already been undermined. It was the wicked witches and the inhabitants of “the magical forest” who now were getting nervous and a little bit scared!

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“Repeat your number one after another like in the army!”- The Cowardly Lion was getting less cowardly. Sure, there were no such words in the script. We no longer stuck to it. Even if we wanted, we couldn’t: Raushan (the wicked witch) told me later that children had been asking her to be kind and good despite she was the witch as well as they began to listen to me once I said: “I want to be kind-hearted, how can I gain this trait?”  Children answered with no doubts: “Goodwin will help you!”

GOOD   WIN

Did the author put any meaning into the name of the main wizard of OZ? My answer is “yes”. “Goodwin” (Aset Omirzhanov) is telling us that good always wins. This plot development is quite typical for all fairytales. But now I think we all perceive it much deeper than we did before.

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What an orphan child can dream about? Family in which everybody would be kind and heedful to each other. Probably that’s why they feel any kindness and sincerity so keenly. Probably that’s why they were quite uncontrollable and even aggressive with the witches – the embodiment of evil and bad luck, constantly repeating “we are not afraid!” Zhanna (the main witch, Bastinda) might long remember the way children were trying to chase her;)

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We’d been told before the event that children here are hyperactive and it’s difficult to manage them. There might be the reasons: as any children they need attention, but here they have to fight for it. Therefore it was a challenge for most of the kids to play in the team as each of them would try to grab our attention sometimes shouting and disobeying us. Thank you guys, Yura (Cowardly Lion), Kanat (Tin man), Aset Abuov (Scarecrow) and Aset Omirzhanov (Goodwin), for patience, attentiveness and making children trust you! Aset O. even found a little helper among the kids and named him – Goodwin Jr.!

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They say that children are the most outspoken humans; they haven’t learnt to be mean yet. The kids of SOS children’s village taught us how to befriend, trust, love and be attentive towards people. The story of Kanat, when a little girl, whom he hadn’t has a chance to chat with, presented him a chocolate, brings a salty tear to the eye; or the Albina’s moment, when a kid gave her the flowers, is so adorable and touching.

21Probably, most of the guys would tell you that the expectations didn’t meet the reality because the reality was a way different than we could have imagined. Personally I expected the obedient kids listening to every word of mine and doing everything I tell them according to the plan and the script. But it turned out to be exactly the other way round, in other words, it was better than I could ever think! The feeling that you managed to present a holiday for children which as they told us would be remembered for long days is incredible and inspiring. I am writing these lines three days  after the event but still feeling the excitement and even missing the kids, the place and the emotions I’ve got.

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P.S…

 By the end of the fairytale Ellie, her dog Toto, a Tin man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion ultimately reach the main wizard of OZ. They all think that Goodwin will bestow on them courage, mercy and mind.  The wizard gives a Tin man a heart made of pieces of cloth, the Cowardly lion is gifted by the water of courage and Scarecrow gets a bag full of needles that represents a sharp mind. Yet all these gifts didn’t have any power. Goodwin wasn’t a magician, but he made the characters believe that they were smart, brave and merciful ones.

As Goodwin none of us has the magical power, but still we can make a change. It might seem to be just a game or just a holiday, but do we know what it means for the children whose world unlike the adults’ still full of miracle and expectations…

CAST:

ELLIE – ANAR ISSAYEVA

TOTO – AZAMAT DUISSEBAYEV

GOODWIN – ASET OMIRZHANOV

A TIN MAN – KANAT BAZARALY

COWARDLY LION – YURA PROKOPENKO

SCARECROW – ASET ABUOV

THE WICKED WITCHES – RAUSHAN SATIBALDIYEVA, SAULE TEMIRBAYEVA

BASTINDA – ZHANNA KUSAINOVA

WINGED MONKEYS – AIGERIM KOSHEKEN, NASSIPZHAN KOSHANOVA, ZHANYLSYN ZHUMAGALIYEVA

CAMERAMAN  – ANEL MURZAGALIYEVA

MAKE-UP:

AIZADA ZHUMASHEVA

SAMAL KALIAKHMETOVA

ORGANIZING TEAM:

SAULE TEMIRBAYEVA

ALBINA SAHA

AKBOTA SABETOVA

ANAR ISSAYEVA

ANEL MURZAGALIYEVA

RAUSHAN SATIBALDIYEVA

ZHANNA KUSSAINOVA

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Run, toastmaster, run!!!

It is that time of the year! The time when toastmasters choose the officers’ team for the next term. The new term will begin July 1st 2017 and last till June 30th 2018.

Any member can run for any position; it does not matter how long one has been a toastmaster; 2 years, 2 months or 2 weeks. Each toastmaster can find a position in the team to his/her taste and there are plenty to choose from: President, Secretary, Vice President Education, Vice President Membership, Vice President PR, Treasurer and Sergeant-at-arms.

Many toastmasters have great potential and what is more important willingness to be the part of the team to serve to the best interest of the club. I am happy to see that some of you have already applied for a position and even two.

In this post I’d like to encourage those who are still hesitant. I have talked to some of you and the main issue that bothers you is that you will have too much work to do. For this my answer is: Yes, you will have to devote more time to ATC but it is not something that cannot be coped with due persistence and time management. And there are always your team mates and fellow toastmasters who are ready to share your burden. You will have good days and bad days. You will meet optimistic motivating people and pessimistic discouraging people. You will be supported and sometimes judged for your actions and decisions. But all I can say is that serving as an officer has been and remains an unforgettable experience of my life.

Do not hesitate, take your chance now. Try yourself at something you have never done before. You say that it is difficult, but how can you know if you never tried?

So, my advice to you, toastmasters: Run for an ATC office!

Sincerely,

Korlan Bektassova

President ATC

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ATC Bowling Tournament Follow-up!

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Dear Friends!

I hope you still remember the special event held on April 8thATC Bowling Tournament. Personally I love playing bowling and especially the moments of strikes and spares! This game has always given me the opportunity to spend time with my friends and have an active rest, sometimes bowling is just like meditation for me.  For the purpose of socializing and active rest I’ve decided to organize the Bowling tournament and invited ATC members and non-members on Facebook page and Instagram. It turned out that there were many people who shared love for bowling with me. 24 people came to the tournament, among them there were 11 non-members.

I had a lot of ideas how to make this event entertaining and exciting, but I could not put them altogether on one scenario. I asked the help and my friend from our club – Saule Temirbayeva agreed to help me. Her help was priceless; she was involved in the process from the first minute. We made a program starting from the breakdown of players by 3 teams for each lane using the bowling pins of different colors, plus Saule prepared the legend of Bowling and induction ceremony! Unfortunately we could not do that as planned, as there was very loud music and some people came late. So we decided to skip this and started off with the first competition named “Challenging throws”. There the participants lined up and one after another starting with the first player from each team rolled the ball with definite tasks. For example, first players of each team threw the ball with left hands, the second ones – sitting on the floor; the thirds turned back to the lanes and rolled the balls through their legs. After some efforts, we asked our players to think up the most breathtaking and ingenious throw. All the participants were involved and they offered different kinds of throws, some people started to dance passing the ball to each other, someone threw the ball blindfolded, and one beautiful lady even did the splits after her throw!

After such an exciting and challenging part of our competition we had dinner together, while having a meal we were playing the game named “Charades”, in addition to this all the participants voted overwhelmingly in favour of Aigerim Kosheken who won the award “Breathtaking throw”!

We came back to the competition and before starting the second part named “Turn of professionals”, I conducted a bowling workshop for 10-15 minutes where I showed some compulsive techniques with the help of which you could play bowling better and take pleasure in the game. Based on my observations it was very useful for our players. Most of them began to do the strikes after strikes and caught the flow of the game. And here we announced the nominations of “Super lady striker” and “Super male striker”. Our winners were Bairam Orazov and our guest Zhamilya Nurgazy.

At the end of the evening we awarded our winners and the first place award went to the team “La La land”. The second place – “Double strikers” and the team “Courage Bombay” took the third place. Our congratulations to all the winners!

My personal and huge thanks to Saule for your help, ideas and enthusiasm. Aigerim Kussainova, thanks for photo shooting.

Thank you for coming and sharing this event with us, dear friends! I enjoyed it a lot.

Sincerely,

Raushan Satibaldiyeva

VP Membership

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Humorous Speech Contest Follow-up Note from Anara Badyrlenova

On Saturday, March 11, 2017 Astana Toastmasters Club (ATC) hosted Humorous Speech Contest.

Anyone willing to participate could do so since the contest was not restricted for participation of ATC current members only.

The contest was organised in order to highlight how public speakers could effectively use their skills, talents and humour to make the audience laugh and enjoy their presentations. Eventually we had six outstanding and bright contestants, who confirmed participation and stepped forward to entertain the public. These were:

1. Zhantuar Yertayev (ATC current member)
2. Akbota Sabetova (ATC current member)
3. Anuar Unaibekov (ATC current member)
4. Kanat Bazaraly (ATC current member)
5. Aigerim Sanayeva (ATC current member)
6. Zhanna Kussainova (ATC current member)

The intrigue of the contest was that the judges’ names were not announced up until the beginning of the session. This was done in order to prevent the conflict of interest as well as to add anxiety to the event. In the end we had a very multi-national, diversified and gender-tolerant jury panel comprising of these wonderful people:

Matthew David Charnetski
Korlan Bektassova
Lyubov Levchuk
Bairam Orazov
Sérob A. Manoukian

In order to increase transparency of the assessment of the contest speech evaluation criteria were published before registration was open:
1. Content (speech value, effectiveness, speech development)
2. Delivery (body language, voice, manner)
3. Language (appropriateness)

An outstanding facilitation of the contest was delivered by two Timers who managed to thoroughly follow-up on time usage appropriateness. These were:
1. Sogdiana Akhmetova
2. Ali Akiltayev

Great support was provided by ATC officers’ team:
1. Raushan Satibaldiyeva has organised a wonderful Table Topic Session for all guests and fellow toastmasters.
2. Aidana Koptileuova provided amazing administrative support and organised coffee-break for all attending the event.

Finally, when we enjoyed presentation of six humorous speeches judges have made the following decision – the top three best participants were:

1st place – Aigerim Sanayeva. As an award she received full ATC membership payment for half a year (1 April – 1 October 2017)
2nd place – Akbota Sabetova. She was awarded with 50% ATC membership payment for half a year.
3rd place – Yertayev Zhantuar was awarded with 25% ATC membership payment for half a year

Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who participated, organised, attended this event and I’m looking forward for the next ATC upcoming endeavours!

Best regards,
Anara Badyrlenova
VP Education

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Estonia Country Day Follow-up Note from Anara Badyrlenova

On Saturday, February 25, 2017 Astana Toastmasters Club (ATC) hosted Estonia Country Day.
Counsellor for Economic Affairs, Mr. Kalvi Noormagi has gladly agreed to accept ATC invitation and to talk about his beautiful country.
We have had a very nice presentation from Mr. Noormagi talking about his country, about Kazakhstani-Estonian relationships, current projects and further prospects of cooperation between our two states and nations.
Plenty of interesting facts about his country were shared, for example Mr. Noormagi told that Estonia’s economy continues to benefit from a transparent government and policies that sustain a high level of economic freedom, ranking 6th globally and 2nd in Europe. A simplified tax system with flat rates and low indirect taxation, openness to foreign investment, and a liberal trade regime have supported the resilient and well-functioning economy. The 2017 Ease of Doing Business Index by the World Bank Group places the country 12th in the world, surpassing neighboring Finland, Australia, Germany, Canada and Switzerland. The strong focus on the IT sector has led to much faster, simpler and efficient public services where for example filing a tax return takes less than five minutes and 98% of banking transactions being conducted through the internet.
Mr. Noormagi has brought with him Estonia maps and brochures for meeting attendants to acquaint themselves with the country.
In the end of the speech we had about 20 minutes Q&A session, which became a fascinating part of the meeting since ATC-members have addressed a range of varied questions to Mr. Noormagi.

Best regards,
Anara Badyrlenova
VP Education

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Word from President: March

Dear friends!

It is officially the Spring Season! The time for new beginnings and adventures. If you have not joined the club yet, it’s high time you did. Because we have prepared an interesting agenda for you in March, the most anticipated event is The Humorous Speech Contest among the members of ATC. The event will take place on the 11th of March and eight contestants will compete to be named the Best.

By the way, during the celebration of the 7th ATC Birthday we awarded the people who served well in the Club during the last year. If you want to spend some quality time in ATC and be recognized for your achievements by your fellow toastmasters, the time for you to start is NOW. Do not hesitate to step forward, take meeting roles; do not fear the responsibility to organize an event. This is how you become a leader.

February turned out to be the most fruitful in 2016-2017 term (so far) for number of members joining ATC. We welcomed six new members and three reinstated members back! Way to go!

With a number of members growing, I’m looking forward to hearing more interesting and thought-provoking speeches, constructive and effective evaluations, and great impromptu speeches.

Sincerely,

Korlan Bektassova

President of ATC

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Word from President: February

Dear friends!

The beginning of a year is the time for big plans. ATC is no exception and the Officers’ Team developed the Club’s success plan for the next 6 months of January – June 2017. Good thing is that in Toastmasters we not only state goals, but know how to achieve them. Do not stay aside as reaching Club goals is inseparable with individual goals of each member, it is a unique opportunity for each of you to find support and encouragement.

An important thing to mention is that the 2016-2017 Officers’ Team was renewed, which is a sign that toastmasters are not hesitant of taking leadership roles. Three officers Raushan Satybaldiyeva, Anara Badyrlenova and Gulimkhan Abdikalykova have joined the team as VP Membership, VP Education and Treasurer respectively. We are lucky to have such great leaders in our team!

After short holidays in January, ATC resumed its meetings; we listened to 19 unique speeches about everything from saving money to sales techniques, and had a great guest speaker with an amazing story of courage and self-dedication. We did not forget to have fun as well when we had “Что? Где? Когда?” intellectual games organized by Damira Kulakhmetova.

What do we have in store in February is no secret. Along with the scheduled meetings, we are going to have a great orientation session for current and future members, Winter Olympic Games – a fun outdoor winter activity and finally a great celebration of ATC 7th Birthday Party!

Sincerely,

Korlan Bektassova

President of ATC

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Meeting Followup 21 JAN 2017 by Aliya Sariyeva

Last Saturday we had an amazing meeting!

It started with inspirational speech of Mr. John Register, the Associate Director for Community and Veterans Programs for U.S. Paralympics. He is a two-time Paralympic athlete and a speaker, inspirer and motivator who uses his life experience to challenge everyone to never settle into their setbacks, but to hurdle their adversity in all aspects of life. Mr. Register motivated us to never give up and find a lot of advantages in tough situations. Thank you very much for your time and motivation!
The next speaker was Aisha Beisenova who delivered her second speech “The foundation for a lifetime success”. Aisha told us about Montessori system of children’s early development. Her final  quotation of Dr. Montessori is still resonating in my mind: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Thank you!
Third speaker Aidana surprised us by proving that eating cakes is really worth it. She made her own research required by project 7 “research your topic” and reached her objective. By the end of her speech she came up with pleasant surprise – diet cakes for all. Yummy! Please, consider making this good tradition in your further performances. =)
 
Speaker number 4 was Damira Kulakhmetova with amazing role-play from Mario Puzo’s “Godfather”. If you were not there you missed a lot! Damira is such a talented actress! She presented several scenes where different people came to the Godfather to ask for a favor. Damira made the exact voice of Don Korleone in the movie and even brought a teddy bear to substitute a cat she caressed. On the other hand, she cried, kissed the godfather’s hand and asked for justice roleplaying guests. I just can’t stop writing about my impressions. Thank you very much, Damira! Guys, consider taking this cool manual “Interpretive reading”!
 
And the last but not the least was our icebreaker Rakhilya Ibildayeva, whose desire to ask questions brought her to ATC. Rakhilya’s main intention is to serve people. I think ATC is just the right place for serving community. We enjoyed Rakhilya’s speech so much that voted for her as the best prepared speaker and new member of the club. Welcome to the family, Rakhilya! 
 
After prepared speech session we proceeded with table topics session led by creative Aigerim Kosheken. She had a VIP question where the volunteer had to show some statements written only using her body. Diana Kim successfully completed this task winning the best table topics speaker award and was also voted to be ATC member. Welcome, Diana!
 
During the evaluation session our wonderful team consisting of Elmira Balatabayeva (GE), Saule Temirbayeva (timer), Yuriy Kim (ah-counter), Diana Kim (grammarian), Raushan Satibaldiyeva, Korlan Bektassova, Aigerim Akiltayeva and Anara Badyrlenova (all speech evaluators) provided constructive feedback to all speakers. Our new VP Education Anara Badyrlenova won the best speech evaluator award.
 
My main takeaways from this meeting were:
  • face problems as challenges
  • deliver speeches and learn public speaking by doing, not just watching and listening
  • if you like something find reasons to do it
  • keep discovering new talents like acting within yourself
  • keep asking questions, they can take you out of your comfort zones to the places where magic happens

Thank you for reading this long follow up note till the end =) See you this Thursday!

 
Toastmaster of ATC meeting, Jan 21
Aliya Sariyeva, DTM
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Behind the Curtain: White Party / New Year Party with Sogdiana and Yuriy

Assiya: It was a White party dedicated to the New Year-2017! Our leading hosts Sogdiana and Yuriy, could you share your impression or funny stories related to the party?

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Sogdiana: The idea to make this party “white” was of Korlan’s, our president, who thought that it would look terrific! And it was! Just imagine people wearing white dresses and shirts! It was like in a fairy tale with a Happy End. Yura and I wanted to write a funny and romantic scenario to make the evening that set the mood for our members and guests for the future holidays.

Yuriy: Sogdiana and I doubted that it would be quiet fun, some contests could make our guess bored. I can’t judge but it seems we have a good time.

Sogdiana: Of course, the fun would be impossible without people who made it happen!

We had a great team, who sacrificed their own time for the party! Yerlan was the one who was responsible for our budget. And we earned 250.000 KZT from 34 people. Sometimes, we are trying to save money for others meetings or gifts, but White party required full commitment from us. Money was spent for beautiful decoration, gifts, food and a “yummy” cake with lettering “White party”! It was a painstaking work of everyone. Sometimes, I didn’t have time to control everything, but on my request – everyone helped, when it was necessary. I was so proud of the power that we had, of emotions and feelings that we could put to the Day!

Yuriy: I didn’t know how it would be going because we had an empty room without tables, decorations: nothing was ready at 4 p.m. When Sogdiana and I entered the room we didn’t feel exuberance and realized “We have much stuff to do”.

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Sogdiana: Assiya, Anara, Raushan, Yura and I, came very early, to make sure, that the place would be prepared on time, tables were in a right place and lights could be turned off, when we needed for scenes. It was a bit unfair, but a lot of boy’s work, girls did by themselves. We didn’t ask for help, but we thought they might know, that we needed them. Anyway, we could solve it. And we had Yura, who helped with heavy stuff.

Yuriy: Actually, our glorious girls created a holiday table and decorated the room by 6.30 p.m. Everything was ready except the music. It was quite clear – the equipment was in bad condition, the sound was awful with lots of buzzing overtones, microphones were out of repair and Saulet was forced to spend a lot of time to repair but any attempt ended in the flop. Again a miracle….the equipment suddenly started to give us the music without buzzing, both microphones made us possible not to damage our vocal cords.

Sogdiana: It was really going to disrupt our party but everything worked out. I am thankful to all officers, newcomers and delivery agents. Everything was on time and with festive moods. Aisha brought fabulous posters of White party and logo of Astana Toastmasters Club. Yerlan and his wife Aigerim brought and served food on tables. Saulet tuned equipment and sound. Damira and Yerzhan were our Ded Moroz and Snegurochka with funny competitions and poems. Aidana and Zhanara took pictures. Girls made a dance of snowflakes. Aigerim Kosheken sang a song. Everyone was involved in process that is why it was a team-success!

Yuriy: Thank you very much who organized it! Sogdiana encouraged me to take part, wrote the scenario and I got real delight to meet and write it with her. The ATC white party was our miracle.

Sogdiana: Happy New Year!!!

Yuriy: Happy New Year!!!

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Toastmasters’ Speech Contest Follow-up Note from Korlan Bektassova

26th of November 2016 became an important milestone in the history of Astana Toastmasters Club and the whole Toastmasters’ community in Kazakhstan.

That Saturday afternoon 6 speakers representing 6 different Toastmasters Clubs, officially chartered in Kazakhstan, gathered together in a cozy hall of Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, to compete in the art of public speaking.

Though the idea of having such a contest was in my mind for a long time and it was one of my promises during the presidential campaign, the actual preparation for the event started in the last decade of August. It was the first time when I addressed all the Toastmasters Clubs I know in Kazakhstan: NCOC Toastmasters, Atyrau Open Toastmasters clubs in Atyrau, NU Toastmasters and Samruk Kazyna Toastmasters clubs in Astana and Almaty Toastmasters Club in Almaty. All the clubs immediately supported the idea, and showed willingness to participate. I expected nothing less from a community of true leaders. First step was done.

From that very moment, a busy season began. We had many tasks to fulfill: finding the venue with a good location, finding judges, recruiting volunteers to help with organizational matters, promoting the Contest to attract visitors, preparing certificates, and gifts for winners and participants and many other little details that seemed to be unimportant but actually meant a lot.

The most challenging part was finding a perfect venue. Location was important.   

There are many venues in Astana with necessary equipment and capacity, and Hilton Garden Inn was indeed a perfect location for the Speech Contest. However there was one main restraint: being a non-profit organization, we do not have financial resources to be able to “buy” any venue we want. Thus, we needed a venue for free. That doubled the challenge and this challenge was accepted by the Sergeant-at-arms Kanat Bazaraly. He successfully tackled the problem by applying his leadership skills and persuading Mr. Michael Adams, the director of PwC Kazakhstan, that there were benefits in sponsoring the Speech Contest. Perhaps one would say that it was an easy task, since Mr. Adams was supportive with the ideas and values of ATC, and once again, I’d like to thank him and PwC Kazakhstan management for believing in good causes of such an event and agreeing to sponsor it.

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The next thing to do was to recruit judges.

The task was complicated by three factors: 1) we needed someone who is familiar with public speaking principles, 2) we needed someone who speaks and understands English at the highest possible level and 3) we needed unbiased parties, unrelated to any of the competing clubs.

The problem was solved when Aliya Sariyeva, the only Distinguished Toastmaster in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, called me and said that she wanted to lead the event and be the toastmaster of the Speech Contest. I could not have imagined a better candidate for this task.

She was also the one who recommended Miss Mary Francis and Miss Jane Knight from Haileybury School in Astana as judges. The third judge was Trevor Hogan from PwC Kazakhstan. I’d like to thank these lovely people for agreeing to take such a responsibility and sparing their time and efforts.

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The other thing which was still on the table was Gifts for the participants.

At first we thought we’d have a participation fee for the contestants, however later on we waivered this prerequisite as it is not a common practice in Toastmasters. However we still needed funding. That is when a little fundraising campaign started within the club. With the help of members of ATC, we managed to raise enough money to buy books for gifts for each contestant. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the fundraising, and my special thanks is to Banu Ibragim, a member of ATC, who recently moved to another city and could not be present at the Contest, she was the one who contributed the largest amount. That’s what we call true devotion to the club.  

Speech Contest was a great opportunity to raise awareness about Toastmasters. A press release about the event was sent to media and published on social network. Thanks to the efforts of PR team from ATC and PwC, we were able to attract an audience of nearly 100 people and even had some TV journalists.  

Conducting a Contest of such a scale by gathering Toastmasters together was the key goal I announced during my presidential campaign and now I can say that the mission is successfully accomplished. Thanks to teamwork and dedication, the event turned out to be a tremendous one.

For me it was never about winning but I’m happy that Aigerim Kosheken who stepped up to represent Astana Toastmasters Club reached the hearts of the audience and the jury by winning the 2nd place and Audience choice award. Thank you, Aigerim!

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Look at these courageous women and men who stepped up to represent their clubs, without them it would not have happened.

The results of the Speech Contest turned out to be as follows:

1st place Sayagul Berdenova from NCOC Toastmasters Club

2nd place Aigerim Kosheken from Astana Toastmasters Club

3rd place Yernur Satybaldiyev from Almaty Toastmasters Club

Audience choice award was split between Aigerim Kosheken and Yernur Satybaldiyev, who got equal number of votes.

Videos  of their speeches are here.

Photos are here

In the end I’d like to thank officers’ team for supporting the idea and making the it happen, each member (ex, current or future) who contributed their time and money, great photographers Matthew Charnetski and Makhmud Baikhodzhayev, Saule Temirbayeva, who prepared the ballot box and voting sheets and Aikorkem Nurzhanova who promoted the event by all means possible.   

More great events to come!

Sincerely yours,

Korlan Bektassova