Kazakhstan: Dametken Alenova

A violence-free world, a peaceful and happy life, smiles and sun: that is my understanding of peace.

— Dametken Alenova

Dametken Alenova is the leader of the NGO Birlik ("unity"), which promotes democratization and the development of civil society in Kazakhstan. Despite her own persecution by state authorities, Dametken has fought to help the poor and struggled against governmental corruption. Her work has no doubt improved the situation in the country.

Born in Russia in 1948, Dametken Alenova has been a professor of biotechnology since 1983, publishing over 60 scientific works. She has been credited with several inventions. She entered into business during the Perestroika period, when teachers’ work was devalued and research no longer funded, subsequently founding her first NGO to help small businesses and entering politics. She has written numerous articles about governmental corruption and has run for public office. Despite the fact that she and her family have been persecuted by state authorities, she has persistently worked for democratization. Her struggle against corruption via mass media publications has had considerable public resonance. As a result of her work corruption has become less pervasive. The tax and customs legal framework has been revised. Small business taxation has become less subjective. Public leaders have raised their profiles in dealing with social issues. Birlik fights poverty and economic and social injustice and seeks to consolidate NGOs in pursuit of their common goal: to establish a civil society in Kazakhstan.