After graduating from the Panfilov Boarding School for Orphans in Kyrgyz Republic in 2007, Bakyt entered the University of Arabaev and completed his studies in biology by correspondence as school administrator appealed to him to enter the field of biology. He began earning his teaching certification in 2007, and started teaching biology at his old boarding school in 2008. In 2011, he was appointed as the Deputy Director of the boarding school.

When Passport to Success® (PTS), a life skills program developed by the International Youth Foundation (IYF), was presented at the Panfilov Boarding School in 2012, Bakyt became interested in the idea of providing these skills to his students at the residential institution. As a result, he became one of 18 trainers to complete the initial PTS teaching of teachers (TOT) for residential institutions in Kyrgyzstan. The training was sponsored by Jasa.kg, a four-year initiative of the International Youth Foundation, supported through USAID, that seeks to engage a new generation of young people in building a stable, prosperous and democratic society in Central Asia.

Jasa.kg’s partner, the Childhood Institute, helped to implement the program—with the support of IYF and funding from USAID. In the first round of PTS implementation, 177 youth from nine residential institutions received life skills training and worked together to design and implement community service projects.

As a PTS trainer, Bakyt mobilized the participating youth at Panfilov Boarding School to design and implement project “Idea 2012,” which included bringing Internet service to the computer class. Thanks to the Internet service, youth now have the opportunity to reach out to the University of Altai where they have the opportunity to be accepted to study with scholarships provided by the university. Last year, three graduates of Panfilov Boarding School were able to enroll.

Bakyt, now 23, talks about what he learned through his experience with Passport to Success. “I was able to inspire the youth’s interest in the program, and my relationship with them has changed. I was able to learn alongside them through the curriculum. Before, I delivered lessons in an authoritarian style. Now, thanks to the PTS program, I have learned how to work better with youth and how to keep their interest. Youth kept up their participation until the end of the program—they didn’t quit. That means it kept their interest.”