Lukpan Akhmediarov, is one of the recipients of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Small Grants Fund for Central Asia. The well-known journalist and editor, decided that a summer school for journalists was what the city of Oral, in the far western corner of Kazakhstan, needed.
“I noticed immediately that there was great interest in the project among young people in Oral,” he says.
Some 20 participants were eventually selected for his summer school. They learnt about everything from legal issues that journalists should be aware of, to photography and working with online news channels.
“Many of them found permanent jobs with local news outlets after the course,” he says proudly.
Lukpan Akhmediarov’s own career as a journalist in authoritarian Kazakhstan has not been easy. He has been arrested and imprisoned for his efforts to uncover corruption in his native country. After Lukpan announced the summer school and the grant from the NHC, attempts were made to confiscate the funds from his bank account.
“Nonetheless, we carried out the project and hope to establish a more permanent journalism school in Oral in the future,” he says.