The Saby Foundation — supporting the people of Kazakhstan through 2020 and looking to the future

Looking back at this turbulent year, we have a lot to reflect upon. COVID-19 has taken a hold of many aspects of our society, with many of the institutions and systems we rely upon suffering as a result. Hospitals have struggled under exponential demand, schools have closed, and across the world there have been shortages of essential goods including food staples and medicine.

As the oldest private charity in Kazakhstan, the Saby Foundation understands its duty to provide certainty and support to those whose livelihoods, jobs and welfare have been compromised by the pandemic. We are incredibly grateful for our diligent volunteers, friends and patrons who have worked tirelessly to help us meet urgent demands, and support global efforts to combat the virus.

Soon after the appearance of COVID-19, the Saby Foundation mobilised Kazakh businesses and individuals for a fundraising event, raising much needed funds to purchase 100,000 rapid COVID-19 tests and 40,000 PCR tests. Following this, the Foundation donated KZT 10 million to supply artificial lung ventilator apparatus to a hospital in Almaty, as well as 43 oxygen concentrators, 10 ventilators, 500,000 medical masks, and 115,232 packages of medicine which were distributed across the region.

Demand for charitable support has reached record highs, yet many organisations have struggled to maintain operations due to lost fundraising income. The Foundation was pleased to offer financial support to two extremely worthwhile charities: the Shugyla Foundation, which gives social and provisional help to low-income families, and the Rasima Food Bank Kazakhstan Foundation, which distributes meals to the elderly and vulnerable.

The educational sector has also suffered as a result of the pandemic, with national lockdowns forcing schools and universities to close their doors and operate online. In order to ensure vulnerable families had access to technology that facilitates remote learning, the Saby Foundation distributed Samsung tablets across Almaty. Furthermore, in the summer, the Foundation opened the ‘Shokan School’, an innovative institution offering high quality academic teaching alongside practical skills development. In the coming years, we look forward to nurturing Kazakhstan’s next generation and help them reach their potential.

In the last month, COVID-19 vaccines with high efficacy rates have been brought to market and distributed, providing hope worldwide that the end of the pandemic is in sight. We should be truly proud of our healthcare sector and modern medicine that has enabled the vaccine to be developed in under a year. Earlier on this year, we witnessed some inspiring healthcare innovation as a part of our 7th ‘Build Your Business’ contest, with the winning prize awarded to the ‘Celebra’ project which uses artificial intelligence to diagnose strokes. The annual contest is a fantastic opportunity for us to see some of the impressive intellect and skills of Kazakhstan’s young entrepreneurs, and we look forward to welcoming more pioneering entrepreneurs in the forthcoming years.

This year marks the 18th year anniversary of the Saby Foundation. The Foundation was established in order to improve the quality of, and access to, education and healthcare across the country, and to ensure all young people can secure a promising future. We stand by these important values, even in times of crisis and uncertainty, and promise to do everything within our capabilities to support the livelihoods and wellbeing of the people of Kazakhstan.