Meet Aliya Rayeva, a member of the National para-athletics team of the Republic of Kazakhstan who exemplifies strong will and determination. She has been engaged in the sport for several years now and represents Kazakhstan in international competitions.
Rayeva, who won several medals in National Para Athletics Championships in Kazakhstan, has high hopes of participating at the Paralympic Games one day. She is social activist and volunteer, working with single mothers, providing them with counselling and emotional support.
Born with cerebral palsy, Rayeva spent her initial years in a state orphanage before arriving at the SOS Children’s Village in Almaty in 1996 at the age of five. She underwent three major leg surgeries as a child and doctors were not sure if she would ever walk. But thanks to the support of the SOS, Rayeva started the long process of rehabilitation. She not only walked again, but went onto become a para- athlete.
Today she works with young people with impairments and young mothers to raise their level of self-esteem and motivation. She also advocates for the rights of orphans, and children and families in difficult life circumstances.
Rayeva, who is also a wife and mother of a baby boy, is nominated for the Hermann Gmeiner Award 2020 for her merits and efforts. She is also the only Asian among the eight finalists (4 men and 4 women) shortlisted for this prestigious award.
The prize is awarded to people who grew up in the SOS Children’s Village and despite facing difficulties in life, have gone on to become role models and are outstanding in their field (whether social, cultural, athletic or professional) both in their countries and abroad.
To support Rayeva, you can vote here https://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/who-we-are/hermann-gmeiner-award/2020-hermann-gmeiner-award. Deadline for voting is July 23, 2020 at 12 p.m. Central European Time.