Madina Karsakpayeva: Guided by my motto – Never give up

Madina Karsakpayeva: Guided by my motto – Never give up
10.05.2024 | 09:58

Madina Karsakpayeva: Guided by my motto – Never give up

Madina Karsakpayeva is from Kazakhstan. She is a UN Volunteer Disability Inclusion Specialist with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Born with cerebral palsy, Madina's parents took her as a child to the first NGO in Kazakhstan dedicated to supporting persons with disabilities. This act of love, support and acceptance ignited a lifelong flame of passion for volunteering in Madina. The very same NGO that supported her as a child became the stage for Madina’s first steps as a volunteer in her first year of university. Each volunteering experience she has embraced since has marked an important milestone in Madina’s life. 

Madina's journey at the UNDP began with challenges stemming not only from accessibility issues within the UN buildings but also exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Isolated at home yet guided by her motto – ‘Never give up’ – Madina's determination to overcome obstacles stood firm. Working within the UN system was a lifelong dream, and no matter how daunting the circumstances were, she drew strength from within to reach this point.

As UNDP provided the necessary facilities to enable her to work from home, Madina launched and coordinated various projects online. For instance, she supported the COVID-19 response for persons with disabilities in Kazakhstan and conducted capacity building webinars on disability inclusion.  

Now that the pandemic restrictions are over, she has started going to the office and meeting colleagues in person. Witnessing the rich tapestry of diversity among her colleagues and feeling the shared spirit of commitment to change inspires her every day.

Madina initiated the UN Buildings Accessibility Project, which reinforces the importance of disability inclusion. This effort has not only transformed her own life but also promises to make a lasting impact on the lives of many others.

She represented the United Nations Volunteers at the International Volunteers Forum in Astana where she met the President of Kazakhstan, a memory she cherishes. “Volunteering always gives me a special feeling,” she says. 

In 2021, Madina received an award for her outstanding support as a volunteer.

This article was produced with the kind support of Online Volunteer Abbey Gibson. Find out more on how to volunteer online or engage Online Volunteers.