'Window to Russia' open for students of Islamic countries via Tatarstan

Tatarstan is going to become a reference point for the development of international volunteerism in Russia

An agreement on the creation of the project International youth forum of the OIC and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Kazan was signed on 1 December in the capital of Tatarstan. The Tatarstan office will be the fourth in Russia, earlier they appeared in Ulyanovsk, Salekhard and Omsk. But, unlike them, the Kazan office is aimed at developing youth diplomacy, cooperation between young Russian diplomats and their colleagues from the OIC countries. To be more precise, the project office will link universities and non-profit organisations from Russia with similar structures in the OIC countries.

“The activities of four project offices are aimed at developing international cooperation with the BRICS and SCO countries. Any result [of the work done] must be measurable. We have a joint project with the Russian Youth Union (RSM), Business Incubator, in various areas. So, Russian-Chinese incubators have shown a capitalization of more than 300 million dollars for five years. There are 24 such incubators in total — 12 of them in Russia and 12 abroad. The same programme was launched with the BRICS countries. We intend to promote such projects within the project offices. For Kazan, the development of the volunteer agenda will be [in focus]," explained the head of Rosmolodezh, Alexander Bugaev.

Young Tatarstan entrepreneurs are looking for investors in edutainment and medical startups

Along with the signing of the agreement, a pitching session was held for participants of the forum of young entrepreneurs of the OIC countries. As the head of the Eurasian branch of the OIC Youth Forum, Elmaddin Mehdiyev, noted, this year more than 700 applications from 40 countries have been submitted for the event, and 20 of the most promising ones have been selected. Two applications from Tatarstan got into this top. Mehdiyev calls the forum an important platform for interaction, while Kazan and Tatarstan are the window to Russia for the Islamic world.

The author of the project Glavmed, Dinar Aitov plans to combine clinics, patients and pharmacies in one mobile app. To implement the project, the interlocutor plans to attract $150,000 of investment (at the rate of December 1, this is about 11,5 million rubles). The most expensive part Dinar calls the integration in medical institutions. Tatarstan should become a pilot region in this project, and Dinar plans to launch the project by 2021.

“The idea of creating it came from personal experience — I visited clinics and realised that we can't get information in electronic form to find out where the prescribed medications are. This is a very relevant project, and many clinics do not have such a product. The relevance has increased due to the pandemic," Aitov believes.

Another project marked “made in Tatarstan” was presented by Liana Khanova, the founder of Magic Story. Her startup creates interactive books using augmented reality technology. The combination of a mobile system and a book increases the perception of the material. The author is sure that its solution can be used in textbooks on chemistry, physics, and geography. The young woman needs $ 80,000 to develop the project (at the exchange rate on December 1, the amount slightly exceeds 6 million rubles).

“A child downloads a free app, points it to the pages of a book, and they come to life. Heroes 'jump out', give the child different tasks. We solve the problem that children are not interested in reading books and spend more time in stupid games," says Khanova.

One of the jury members — head of the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency Taliya Minullina noted that the projects submitted to the experts' judgement belong to the field of edutainment (education + entertainment), which the UN called one of the most promising and trending for the next 5-10 years, and they will attract most of the investment.

“I believe that the projects that we have seen fit very precisely into the trends. They have the right to an investor, I hope that with the help of this platform they will find it. I hope that today we have future billionaires in our ranks who will also become investors one day and will definitely invest in Tatarstan," Minullina said.

President praised Minmol but advised not to forget their own

All the described events were held within the framework of the X anniversary forum “Our Tatarstan”. This is a kind of final event that was held in the spring until 2020, but this year it was postponed several times due to the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the youth of Tatarstan also reported on the grants received at federal sites. According to tradition, the republic brought more of the latter than other regions — several tens of millions of rubles. The federal money will be spent on youth ideas. One of them is the creation of an organ donation development centre. The author of the project is Andrey Anisimov, by the way, the winner of the contest Student of the Year RT 2019. According to him, the goal of the project is to debunk the myths about organ donation. The main one is the presence of a black market and black doctors who are ready to transplant an organ literally in the basement.

“Now, together with the republican ministry of healthcare, we are developing methodological materials — statistics, infographics, and legal aspects. All this will be posted on the site, we will promote it through social networks," announces Andrey.

In order to launch the project, he needed 500,000 rubles, which he won at the Ivolga youth forum as a grant. However, this money will last for about a year. All the work to promote the project will require, according to the author's estimates, about 10 years, or 5,000,000 rubles in monetary terms.

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov congratulated the winners of such forum campaigns. In his address, he noted that the youth of the republic has always been famous and pleased with their efficiency and desire to do something. But he did not detract from his significance, or rather from his decision to create the ministry of youth affairs.

“It is important for us to reach every locality, to those who work and live in the republic. There are all the possibilities for this. I believe that the form that was carried out fulfills its task," Minnikhanov said. By “the form” the leader of Tatarstan meant the project of the ministry of youth 'Avtobus 14-30', which travelled through the cities of the republic, the organisers met with young people to find out their needs.

Another interesting thing is that the interlocutor of Realnoe Vremya, associated with this project, doubts its effectiveness and believes that the budget — about 5-6 million rubles — was “drained”, but the effect was never achieved. The interlocutor gives several reasons. The first is poor-quality work of youth departments, as, for example, it was in Tetyushy, where participants were driven to a meeting to the bus. The second is the lack of an effective way to convey information to young people living in the field.

“The problem is that you don't know where to find people who need it. As long as there is no way to convey information to young people, all these events will be useless," the source of the publication is sure.

By Dmitry Zaytsev, photo courtesy of the ministry of youth affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan