Following My Dreams: Reflections from WLP’s Central Asia Regional Institute

Posted on 23 April 2013 by

Maria Kolesnikova is a citizen journalist in Kyrgyzstan and a volunteer with WLP Kyrgyzstan/Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan. She joined women from Kazakhstan,  Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan at the WLP Central Asia Regional Training of Trainers Institute on Women’s Leadership and Political Participation in Shymkent, Kazakhstan this April as a participant and to present on her own experiences utilizing social media for change as a citizen journalist. Maria shares her reflections from the training below.


This was the first time I have participated in a WLP training. I had not had such an experience before and I was amazed by those women who came as trainers and as participants to Shymkent, Kazakhstan. I didn’t expect their life stories, their experience could impact my intentions and my plans for my future. The training helped me analyze my view of my life and my role in Kyrgyzstan’s society.

I had dreams but I didn’t know how to implement them or what to start with. A session of planning strategy with Asma Khader from WLP Jordan was the most important and helpful for me. If you follow and plan your own acts step-by-step, using the knowledge and experience of people who have already faced obstacles and overcome plenty of difficulties, it will be much easier to fulfill everything you want.

However without those strong women leaders who shared with us their cases and real life stories, I might not have been able to feel the strength inside me. I asked myself: “If she could do it, why can’t I?” In other words, women leaders from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan inspired me. They showed me there is nothing to be afraid of, there is nothing to be not confident of.

The training helped me understand I can be a leader: small one or big wheel, but it doesn’t matter at first. It is important just to start and continue to develop. My first thoughts after I had come back home from Shymkent were: ”I must study hard, gain knowledge and experience every day; I must build my team or be involved in a team of associates. I must follow my dreams; I must be strong and self-critical otherwise my dreams won’t come true”.

To view photos from the WLP Central Asia Regional Training of Trainers click here.

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