Turkmenistan: Mubarak Gurbanova

Your work will wait for you to show natural phenomena and rainbows to your child, but these will not wait until you finish your work.

— Mubarak Gurbanova

Mubarak Gurbanova (born 1963) is the head of the NGO Medet. She provides educational and job training opportunities to refugees, orphans, the young and the economically deprived. In four years, she has organized 100 seminars for 4000 people. She trains school teachers in the use of the new educational pedagogy on critical comprehension. As part of the Civic Dignity team she contributes to building a civil society in Turkmenistan, by providing training in civic education.

As a student, Mubarak Gurbanova was interested in the English language and dreamed of learning more about the English speaking world. However, the educational system during the Soviet era did not provide teaching on those countries. After high school she entered the Teacher Training Institute, Foreign Language faculty. In 1991, when Turkmenistan gained independence and the Turkmen gates opened to the world, Mubarak’s dream of teaching became a reality. In 1995, she began to participate in language and professional development activities and in community development training lessons of the Counterpart Consortium in Turkmenistan. In 2001 Mubarak became a leader of Medet, an educational NGO, and began to work with the wider community including Afghan refugees. In 2002, Mubarak was at work when Jamile, an Afghan refugee, came to ask for help in finding a job. Mubarak said that if Jamile could encourage refugee children, especially girls, to take part in the organization, she would be glad to arrange language courses and civic education seminars for them. Jamile began to cry and said: "We came to Turkmenistan ten years ago, my husband left me with three sons and married another woman. As my sons did not speak Turkmen or Russian, they could not attend the local schools to receive an education. You are the first person who is happy to help me. I have lost everything: my country, parents, and husband. You are offering me an opportunity to change my life. Thank you." Mubarak began to work with 150 families from the Afghan refugee community, believing that Afghans had to communicate more effectively with one another, be tolerant of opposing opinions and accept people from different cultures. Her dedication and belief that love is stronger than hate gives her the energy to continue to work with children and adults.

Medet Civic Dignity