The OSCE awareness campaign on youth crime prevention and integrity, launched in June 2023, achieved the milestone of reaching one and a half million young people across Kyrgyzstan, the OSCE has stated in a press release.
Featuring some of Kyrgyzstan’s leading influencers, bloggers, artists, youth activists and athletes, the campaign showcases the stories of these local celebrities and how they pursued their passions, built successful businesses and gave back to their communities, all while adhering to the values of lawfulness and integrity.
The campaign features Aigerim Akylbekova, a Kyrgyz journalist and activist, who reflects on her upbringing and the challenges of her childhood marked by high levels of unemployment. Aigerim shares how in the pursuit of a better life, some people opted for shortcuts, relying on bribery and corrupt activities.
“Since childhood I believed that I could achieve everything on my own without resorting to nepotism or bribes,” Aigerim says. “Often, people choose unjust ways to excel in life. Many do this out of desperation – coming from a life of difficulty. Still, this sets us all back. Change can only begin with zero tolerance for dishonesty and corruption,” she adds.
Meerim Tolepbergen, a Kyrgyz blogger with over one million Instagram followers, is also actively involved in the campaign. She discusses the key factors contributing to youth crime, drawing from her own experience as child of migrants. Children separated from their parents often grapple with self-doubt and may seek support from potentially harmful peer groups, she says, leading to possible involvement in organized crime. Meerim underscores the significance of addressing this issue and choosing a different path.
The stories of Meerim and Aigerim, alongside the others in the campaign, aim to inspire and guide young people in Kyrgyzstan by offering real-life positive examples of those who have achieved their goals through legal, ethical, and productive methods.