A volunteer with an ear for a tune is using her musical talents to make sure important messages reach their audience.
Akgozel Saparova helps deliver the Turkmenistan Red Crescent’s community based health and first aid programme in the southern town of Tagtabazar. The 39-year-old, who also has a volunteering role with the country’s ministry of culture, writes poems and songs about the charity and its work.
One of the family
Akgozel says: “Five years ago I decided to become a volunteer because I think that the mission of all human beings should be to help other people.
“I visit families, chat with them and give them leaflets about health from the Red Crescent. Many can’t read the new Turkmen alphabet so I read to them. I visit about nine families regularly and now they are quite used to me and they even tell me they look forward to my visits. The people we visit now consider us as members of their families.”
Akgozel says people’s behaviour has changed in her time as a volunteer – and she feels a real sense of pride when she realises people are taking more care over their health.
Filling the gap
Akgozel knows that the Red Crescent offers unique help and support. She says: “There are doctors and nurses in this area but they have to cover up to a thousand people each. As an auxiliary to the government we try to fill the gap in health promotion and disease prevention Not only that; although government health care staff are medical professionals, the Red Crescent are the ones who are very in touch with the people.
“As volunteers come from the same communities as their beneficiaries they understand what they are going through and they can learn to trust each other.”