Foundation for Children in Need in Kyrgyzstan
Foundation for Children in Need in Kyrgyzstan
Help for Kyrgyzstan

About Kyrgyzstan

A Kyrgyz wearing a traditional costume

Kyrgyzstan is a fairly small country in Central Asia with about 5.5 million inhabitants. It is bordered by China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Formerly widely unknown, but by literature experts for its appreciated writer Chingiz Aitmatov known, Kyrgyzstan recently attracted a much wider attention due to political and social internal in some parts of the country.

The capital of Kyrgyzstan is Bishkek, which is home to almost a million people. Large parts of the country are located in the Tianshan Mountains which reach at some places well over 7,400 meters. The remaining inhabitants live mostly in either the Northern part or in the Southern Fergana Valley. The latter spans not less than three countries (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) and has an overall population of more than ten million people.

Accordingly, the ethnic groups of Kyrgyzstan are quite diverse. The Kyrgyz themselves account for only 65% of the total population; another 14% are Uzbeks and Russians 12%. The remainder consists of no fewer than 80 different ethnic groups.

The Kyrgyz are primarily Muslims, like most Turk people. Since the eighth Century the whole area was subject to changing rulers in history: starting in the early 13th Century it was part of the Mongol empire of Genghis Khan, and remained until the 18th Century Mongolian, but then fell under Chinese control. Shortly after, however, it was incorporated to the Russian Empire. The Russian dominance should last until the end of the Soviet Union. The end of the Cold War meant therefore the first steps of Kyrgyzstan as an independent state. After a brief democratic period, the government of President Akayev started to turn towards autocracy and only the "Tulip Revolution" after the parliamentary elections in 2005 led to its downfall.

Unfortunately, the successive governments proved to be rather unstable. In the first half of 2010, Kyrgyzstan started to appear once again in the headlines of Western media. First because of dramatic struggles between the opposition and the government. Soon after because of ethnic tensions between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the southern part of the country. These riots did not only result in resulted not only in several thousand people killed, but also made tens of thousands people homeless.

These political conditions do not really contribute to the improvement of the economy, which has to burden its communist heritage anyhow. Kyrgyzstan’s economy is dominated by agriculture (35% of GDP), while industry accounts for only 15%. It is estimated that up to 50% of total economic output is generated in the shadow economy, while more than 40% of the total population live strictly under the poverty line. Many rely on payments from relatives working abroad.

Overall, the political and economic conditions do not favor the work of our project. As public funds are insufficient we rely almost entirely on private donations. The absence of a dynamic economic environment for entrepreneurs - and thus foreign investors – keeps the number of local donors quite low. Thus, we organize have to find further assistance in Western Europe, often in a close collaboration with local universities.

Kyrgyzstan - Land and People

Map of Kyrgyzstan

Map of Kyrgyzstan

Large parts of Kyrgyzstan are located in high mountains or are dominated by the steppe. No fewer than 80 different ethnic groups live in this country neighboring four other states. Only after the end of the Cold War Kyrgyzstan achieved real independence for the very first time in history.

The Population

Traditionell lebende Familie in Kirgisien

Only about one third of all Kyrgyz people do live in cities. Traditional ways of life have been largely preserved here and many people work in agriculture. Seasonal nomadism is still widely practiced. (Source)