Martin in Karakol

It was at the beginning of August when Martin Maška from the European Youth Press – Network of Young Media Makers (Berlin, Germany) completed first part of the exchange program with the Leadership Youth Volunteer Organization in Karakol. He was hosted by his twinning partner Aitilek Kanybekova and her colleagues – Anastasia, Altynay, Diana, and Marie. Martin and Aitilek worked together on topics of increasing youth media literacy, data-based storytelling, and enhancing skills in project development among local youth leaders.


At the very beginning of the week-long internship, Martin spent half a day in Bishkek. Instead of going to the city centre, he visited the Kloop organization that publishes online media and provides young people with opportunities to gain or improve media-making skills. Kloop’s representative Ulugbek Akishev showed Martin the organization’s office, including a room where a video-making seminar was being held. Martin was impressed by Kloop’s activities and their high professionalism. Over the course of the meeting, he and Ulugbek laid the groundwork for future cooperation between Kloop and EYP.


After a 6 hour car ride, Martin arrived in Karakol. During second and third day of the internship, he delivered informal lectures on media literacy and data-based storytelling to interested parties in Karakol who will pass the information learned there on to other people in the city and region. The attendees were youngsters and students, but also adults, including even an experienced local journalist. Martin shared not only the theoretical frameworks of media literacy, but also real examples of distorted and unprofessional reporting. Attendees were also shown tools for data visualization and story mapping. During one afternoon Martin visited a local TV station. He later met with local youth leaders to give them tips on how to write successful project proposals.


The fourth day of the internship was centered around the theme of sports and human rights. The Leadership team, along with youth leaders and children from an orphanage near Karakol, went kayaking on Issyk-Kul lake. They also had a traditional dinner and held quiz game about human rights. Martin made few video interviews and asked participants about the connections between sports and human rights. The themes of teamwork and equality resonated throughout the day.



The following day Martin and Aitilek visited the Red Crescent office in Karakol and city centre. Martin also went on a quick trip to the nearby Jety Oguz valley. During the final day of his internship, Martin explored the capital Bishkek. It was very hot day and when walking down narrow streets of the city he had time to think about his experience in Kyrgyzstan. “It was just amazing! The people were friendly, the nature and traditional architecture beautiful, and the food was very tasty. Aitilek was a great host and she organized the whole week very well. What else could I wish for?”


Over the course of his trip, Martin made a pleasant and interesting discovery. Although he represents a German organization, Martin was born in the Czech Republic. To Martin’s surprise, he found out that there is a park named after the Czechoslovakian writer Julius Fučík in Karakol, which even features a statue of the man. He also learned that two other Czechoslovaks were known for exploring mountains in the region – Rudolf Mareček and his son Bořivoj.

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