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«New energy» finds its users

Light, heat, hot water – all these comfort life components can be abundant and absolutely free, and there is no need to even burn coal for that. Don’t you believe it? Come and check yourself at the New Energy course organized by the Center of biophysical ecology of Kazakh national university named after al-Farabi. The course is organized for schoolchildren from the town of Balkhash since 2004.

Name of the course symbolizes new environmentally friendly approaches in power engineering and the “new” energy of the young generation which brings new solutions to the sustainable development in our country.

Idea to organize such course in a form of a summer camp belongs to Raiymbekov Daur Essimkhanovich, researcher of the Center of biophysical ecology. Several years ago he met with a director of the boarding school #2 of Balkhash Makhatova Badisha Makhatovna. It is appeared that her students spend summer on a lake in the school camp “Bolashak”. The camp has two old buildings which lack of any utilities: water is only available from an outside water column, power shortages are common.

- And I thought, why not to install several solar panels, wind generators, biogas unit here, - tells Daur Essimkhanovich. – All the issues with power and water supply would be solved. Besides that, greenhouses and gardens with drip irrigation system could be constructed, and children would learn about renewable energy and wise agricultural techniques in the conditions of arid climate.

The idea of Daur Essimkhanovich is to create a whole agro-bio-energy complex for the students. Researchers from the Center and local inventors could demonstrate here their models and inventions in renewable energy and agro-technologies. On a long run, such center could become a base for international exchange of scientific experience or even a tourist place-to-see.

It was determined that an important aspect for realization of this project was teaching children about renewable energy, fostering of responsible attitude and leadership skills. This would help the kids to wisely operate in their school camp and be initiators of its renovation. For this purpose, researchers from the Center organized an educational camp in Almaty city where during summer holidays the students from Balkhash come to learn about the “new energy”. Many of them never heard of renewable energy, and when a solar panel installed in the Center turns on lamps in the study room for many of the students it becomes a real surprise.

- We installed this solar panel ourselves, connected it to accumulator. There is also inverter…well, now I know how to install such system myself in my house, - proudly says Abylai Bogenbai-uly, Balkhash lyceum #2 student.

Students of the Balkhash boarding school #2 demonstrate a layout of
the eco-camp “Bolashak” with renewable energy technologies

Lecture about renewables in the educational camp “New Energy” in Almaty

Daur Essimkhanovich’s wife Tolkyn Kaznashovna also supported this initiative of an ecological camp. Being a pedagogue and psychologist, she emphasized an importance of not only professional and technical improvement of the children, but also creation of opportunities for their self-realization and development of personal potential. Since that time, the course has special trainings on personal development. Tolkyn Kaznashovna conducts the trainings together with her colleague from the Institute of Harmonic Human Development “Bobek” – Akimbayeva Zhazira Zhaylaubekovna.

- Our camp is not like any other camp, - says Tolkyn Kaznashovna. – Firstly, here everything is created by the children: they arrange everything themselves in the classroom and their living rooms. They have their duties in the kitchen and in the yard, they cook and clean for themselves. Secondly, all the lectures and trainings are conducted in three languages: Kazakh, English, and Russian. Thirdly, after the lectures we all play soccer (even girls like playing), watch scientific movies, every evening we sing songs – this became a good tradition for us. Fourthly, we think that it is necessary to conduct psychological trainings on self-understanding. Such trainings give an opportunity to believe in yourself, make good things, achieve harmony in self-development and understand other people and environment. Thanks to the trainings, children learn to think freely and critically, to be honest, outgoing, friendly, and positive. And finally, the most important is that because of the camp we - the adults - become closer to the children, learn to understand them, accept them as they are, love them sincerely, and help them to get new life experience.

Two years ago, Daur Essimkhanovich met Sofya Tairova who participated in the international students exchange program and studied in the US. He told Sofya about the camp, and she decided to support this initiative and applied for an alumni grant to the Embassy of the United States in Kazakhstan. With the grant funding organizers could invite more students to participate in the camp, buy materials necessary for practical workshops, and organize more interesting field trips. In 2008, using the grant money the initiative group consisting of the Center researchers, lecturers, and alumni of international exchange programs went to Balkhash. The camp took place in the boarding school #2. The initiative was supported by Balkhash affiliation of Scientific and production center of fishing industry and Peace Corps volunteers.

The program of the course “New Energy” comprises of lectures and practical workshops which aim to teach the student renewable energy utilization and environmentally friendly farming skills.

Eminent Kazakhstan scientist, academician, director of the Center Inyushin Victor Mikhailovich conducts his lectures in the camp. He teaches children about biogenic and sanative properties of water, about magnetic phenomena of the Earth. Other lectures and workshops are conducted by distinguished scientists and inventors working in renewable energy and effective farming technologies. Doctor of technical science, professor Buktukov Nikolai Sadvakassovich teaches students about wind energy technologies. Candidate of technical science, inventor Nekrassov Vadim Georgiyevich introduces the young researchers to functioning of a biogas unit. Lectures about domestic waste recycling and production of bio-humus are held by Boguspayev Karim Kassymovich, candidate of biological science, head of biotechnology department of Kazakh national university named after al-Farabi. When in 2008 the course was organized in Balkhash, 600 km away from Almaty, all the professors agreed to participate in the course despite of their busy schedule and a long trip. 

During practical workshops course participants learn how to make small units for utilization of energy of the Sun, wind, biogas, learn to take care of the garden. Thus, the students built a model of wind turbine from an old car “Moskvich”, made a solar oven out of a metal frame of a used refrigerator, set up a model of a biogas system using a car tire as a gasholder. Children learn how to install solar panels under supervision of an electrical engineer Raiymbekov Adil Essimkhanovich. They get to know how to set up a water supply system and make portable washstand, build a solar shower.

In the Balkhash boarding school the young researchers constructed a greenhouse and set up a drip irrigation system inside it. The water-saving technology can be very useful in the arid climate of the region. In the greenhouse, the children planted vegetables, took care of them in turns, and the crops became a treat in the school’s canteen.

- When the children do something with their own hands, they have an absolutely different attitude to that. They will never break this greenhouse. On the contrary, they are going to make a duty schedule to protect the greenhouse from hooligans, - shares his observations Daur Essimkhanovich.

Daur Essimkhanovich has a biological education, but he considers his mission to be a pedagogue. He shares ideas of S.Makarenko, V.Sukhomlinskiy, Sh.Amonashvilli. By his opinion, education of the young generation shall be started from brining up children to be hard-working and responsible. From their side, the boarding school inmates have a special attitude to their instructors. Deprived from parental care and getting used to endure social and living instability they study with a special eagerness as they know that they can only count on their own. And there is a hope that these unprivileged children will be able to become initiators of positive changes in their school and outside.

Model of wind engine made of an old automobile “Moskvich"

Drip irrigation has a lot of advantages in the arid climate conditions

Setting-up a greenhous


Fountain in the school yard made by the students

Model of wave wind engine constructed using a bicycle wheel
by an invention of Bayaliyev Omir Karimovich

In 2009, the course “New energy” got a support from many organizations in Almaty. During the course, the children visited Botanical garden, Young naturalists’ station, Regional ecological center for Central Asia. Ecological Society Green Salvation organized a screening of a documentary film about renewable energy in Europe, and with a permission of the producers – “Greenpeace of Russia” – a copy of the film was given to the Center. Trainings on professional development and English language were conducted by alumni of international educational programs Bolashak, FLEX, UGRAD, Fulbright. Besides that the course participants had an excursion to the biological department of KazNU named after al-Farabi, Almaty institute of power engineering and telecommunications, Kazakh national technical university named after K.I. Satpayev. 
Students were always accompanied by their teachers. The course is a new experience for them as well.

– The children visited such camp for the first time, and it feels that the camp influenced them very much, - says English teacher of the school #15 of Balkhash Kaliyeva Gaukhar Ustemirovna. – Students received knowledge about renewable energy, met eminent scientists, participated in trainings on self-understanding, and got versatile knowledge and skills which would be useful for them in future. During the ten days of the course they became one family, learnt to help each other, be more humane. The course “New energy” allowed the teenagers to acquire these important skills. Studying in the camp became an unforgettable experience for them. Till nowadays, the children talk delightfully about the camp to their relatives and friends. We are very grateful to the organizers – Tolkyn Kaznashovna and Daur Essimkhanovich.

Excursion to the Botanical garden with a researcher of the Institute
of botany and phyto-introduction Kerdyashkin Aleksandr Viktorovich

Lecture about sources of ecological problems is conducted by Iskandar
Mirkhashimov, Regional ecological center for Central Asia

Sudarev Anatoliy Vassilyevich, candidate of technical science, UN/GEF expert,
tells about achievements in solar energy industry

Presentation about application of a hydraulic ram and about a visit to
a “sustainable” village in Netherlands is held by Ekaterina Strikeleva, EcoIDEA

The project of reconstruction of the renewable energy camp “Bolashak” on the bank of Balkhash Lake is at a stage of development of a grant proposal. While the interest to the course “New energy” is growing. More and more Balkhash schools want to participate in the course and delegate their students to study in the Center of biophysical ecology. Daur Essimkhanovich wishes to involve children from other cities of Kazakhstan. With a spread of new knowledge and skills similar eco-camps will appear throughout the country where the wind mills and solar ovens generate electricity and heat, and the children learn to be hard-working and responsible for each other and for their environment.

Buktukov N.S. and Samuel Omans, Fulbright scholar, discuss
structure of yurt as an environmentally-safe housin

Setting up and learning the principles of work of a solar panel

Construction of a solar oven under supervision of Raiymbekov D.E.

Teamwork unites!

Excursion to the Young naturalists’ station is conducted by methodologist
 Goncharova Lidiya Petrovna

Svetlana Spatar, leader of the initiative group Velo-Almaty shares
 experience of bicycling movement in Almaty

Training on English language is conducted by Maria Nitsenko, alumna of
the international program FLEX

Inushin V.M. distributes diplomas to  the course participants


Tairova S.