For Azat Toroev, his time in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2013 on the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program taught him the value of diligence and productivity. Three years later, the results speak for themselves.
Azat is currently the FLEX City Representative for his hometown of Tokmok - a voluntary position responsible for strengthening the alumni community. Each month, he organizes a different community service project. Past projects include visiting children at local orphanages, organizing food and clothing drives for the needy, and helping fellow alumni who need extra support to sustain their own community service project.
“I am now the person that takes care of his own business, tries to help his community, is not afraid to voice out his concerns and desires, good at communications, enthusiastic about new experiences, compassionate and expresses his individuality. All of that would not be possible without FLEX, because as they say, it is not a year in a life; it is life in a year. It was a fun and productive ride for sure.”
One of Azat’s initiatives that stands out in particular is “Disabilities Do Not Limit Possibilities,” which taught leadership skills to disabled youth. Incidentally, as the project started to take place on his university campus, it became readily apparent that the campus was not handicap accessible. As President of the Student Council, Azat brought this issue to the university administration’s attention, and as a result, Azat’s university will be the first fully handicap-accessible campus in Kyrgyzstan.
From community service projects, to his role on the student council, to serving as a FLEX city representative, Azat does not miss a beat. His time management skills are a sight to behold. Though most his age would be overwhelmed by the responsibilities that he has undertaken, he discharges all of his obligations with grace and efficiency.
Azat’s FLEX exchange experience taught him that simple, person-to-person interactions are the best way to promote mutual understanding between people of different communities.
“I cannot imagine what my life would be like if not for the FLEX program,” Azat says, and his community is ever grateful for it.