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Almaz Seiitkan uulu, Founder

Almaz has worked in local government for more than 5 years, overseeing the Baizak Village Youth Committee from 2013 to 2015 and leading the Baizak Baatyr Public Fund from 2015 to the present. A 2009 graduate of Arabaev University’s Economics Department, he decided to found For Families to support men, women, and children in improving the quality and meaning of their family relationships. He supports For Families’ programming for men and youth, providing guidance on positive fathering.

Meghan McCormack,
Director

Meghan oversees For Families’ work in legal empowerment, non-violence, and positive parenting. A 2014 graduate of Yale Law School, she has lead interventions in the Kyrgyz Republic for sufferers of domestic violence and those in need of family law support. She has previously consulted for UN Women, UNICEF, USAID, and others to advise on policy solutions on children’s and women’s rights in Central Asia. Meghan graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Social Studies in 2008.

Joelle Besch, 2019 International Fellow

Joelle is an undergraduate at Yale University majoring in Global Affairs and concentrating in Human Rights. In her free time at Yale, Joelle co-chairs an undergraduate organization that runs summer teaching programs on mental health and sexual education in rural China. During her time with For Families, Joelle oversaw the implementation of its youth summer camp,  built partnerships with local and city government officials, and conducted an study of the use of playground spaces in Bishkek. She intends to pursue a career in international human rights advocacy.

Nurmuhammad Turkbaev, 2019 National Fellow

Nurmuhammad is an undergraduate at the American University of Central Asia where he majors in Business Administration. As the For Families National Fellow, Nurmuhammad leads its work with children, supporting young people with play, games, and free classes on managing emotional challenges, debate, and the English language. Nurmuhammad is also the founder of South Youth Association, which motivates youth in rural Batken to become leaders through debate. His passion is to serve the needs of young people – and particular those in rural areas – and the community at large.

Isabelle Desisto, 2018 International Fellow

Isabelle is an undergraduate at Harvard University, where she is earning a degree in Government with a focus on the politics of the former Soviet Union and Latin America. Having studied Russian in Russia and Moldova, she spent a summer interning at the Central Bank of Armenia before joining For Families. At Harvard, Isabelle works as a peer-to-peer educator on environmental sustainability and sexual health. At For Families, she completed a research report on women’s sexual and reproductive health in the Kyrgyz Republic and supported a quantitative survey of parenting practices and health beliefs.

Paul Zalevskii, 2018 National Fellow

Paul (Pavel) is an undergraduate student at the American University of Central Asia where he majors in International and Business Law. He has previously interned at the Advocates’ Training Center of the Bar Association of the Kyrgyz Republic, where he supported the project, “Empowerment of Women and their Children by Increasing their Access to Court and Legal Knowledge.” Paul is a member of AUCA’s Moot Court Club, C5+1 Youth Council, the student theatre “Mirrors”, and Rotaract. At For Families, he conducted legal research and took part in free legal advising sessions for women in divorce and child custody cases.

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