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Patriotism and pleasant fatigue: which work conditions do volunteers have on the Tour of Almaty

02 September 2019

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Patriotism and pleasant fatigue: which work conditions do volunteers have on the Tour of Almaty

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The volunteer movement is actively gaining momentum in Kazakhstan. In this regard, a decision by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to declare the upcoming year as the Year of Volunteer in Kazakhstan is seen as a very important initiative.

For Kazakh people, it has become second nature to meet hundreds of young people at major republican and international events who will tell you where to go and answer many interesting questions. The international professional bicycle race Tour of Almaty - 2019, which was held for the seventh time a few days ago, was no exception too.

According to the organizers of the race, which brought together more than a hundred cyclists from different countries this year, the race would not have been possible without the help of volunteers.

In total, 43 people were involved in the Tour of Almaty as volunteers. According to Alamsho Gafurov, the leader of the volunteer movement, every person had to pass a serious selection that took place in two stages, in order to enter the team of the organizing committee of the Tour of Almaty. One of the main requirements is English language fluency.

"I can tell you, there were many applications and at least 4-5 candidates applied for one position. The next step was an interview, which was conducted in two languages. We examined everybody for knowledge of English and found out what other foreign languages they speak. At the Tour Almaty volunteers have to perform a very important mission. For example, there is such a position as the assistance of cycling teams. These guys are doing a huge job. This is a kind of bridge between the organizing committee of the race and the cyclists. They work non-stop, constantly in touch. The next position is the "airport". You know that the airport of Almaty is the face of our competitions and it is very important that the guests of the Tour of Almaty from the first to the last second feel our warmth. There is also a special volunteer service that works directly at the start and finish line of the race ", - said Alamsho Gafurov.

He also notes that participating in major international competitions or events is an invaluable experience for each volunteer.

" In my opinion, there are more benefits than considerations in the work of volunteers. Even if we feel fatigued, it is pleasant fatigue. First of all, it is worth remembering that volunteers are people who provide free help. Here the guys work for the idea and they get kicks from participation in a significant event. Of course, such point as patriotism is included. The Tour of Almaty is an image-building event for Almaty and whole Kazakhstan. The guys participate in the organization of the race with great desire. They do it not just to tell friends, but to foreign guests could give a decent assessment of the organization of the race”, - he added.

In addition, he notes that on the Tour of Almaty the attitude on volunteers was very careful, as the organizers think through everything to the smallest detail. However, Alamsho Gafurov admits that not all organizations that attract volunteers can boast a similar level of interaction with youth.

"We worked with companies, they attracted volunteers, but did not provide the proper working conditions. For example, the company had to provide transport but it didn't deliver on all its promises. As a result, the volunteers drove to the airport on their own, late at night. One more time it proves that people here work for the idea. A couple of months ago, there was one event in Almaty where the volunteers worked as the hosts.  The reason is that the organizers could not find the host. It happens sometimes", - he said.

We asked Alamsho Gafurov about what drives young people who decide to connect their lives with volunteering.

"People work here for various reasons. One of them is that it is an opportunity to communicate with foreign athletes. Our volunteers often become friends with cyclists. Sometimes the riders from the foreign teams write our guys – "If you did not take part this year, we would write to the organizing committee". All foreign participants of the Almaty Tour note that volunteers are worried and supportive and that they have never faced this in different countries. The right approach of the organizers to volunteers makes things like this happen. We like the way organizers behave towards us, the way they feed, dress, what kind of “goodies” they give after the race. Many prizes are awarded after the end of the race among the volunteers. Each volunteer receives an official certificate that he participated in the organization of an international sports competition. Someone could think that this is just a piece of paper, but it takes the special significance when our volunteers enter foreign universities or get employed in large companies. In addition, I want to tell you that now there are three employees working in the organizing committee of the Tour of Almaty, who once started as volunteers. It means that for three years of volunteering they have proved themselves as qualified specialists who can be entrusted with a certain front of work ", - said Alamsho Gafurov