Age Demands Action: Older people's hopes for the future of Kyrgyzstan
Life in Kyrgyzstan
Lack of confidence in tomorrow still remains. Living standards have gotten worse due to a sharp rise in prices of main food items because there is no price regulation. Medicine is no longer available for older persons because there are no pharmacies at state level.
Pensions do not cover basic living costs
Inflation for August 2010 in Kyrgyzstan was 9%. According to the law on social insurance pension security, which was adopted in October 1997, the social fund must re-calculate the pension to take inflation into account. This is one of the objectives of the National Strategy for Poverty Reduction. But the social fund have not done this so older people are suffering.
There is some good news for older people: from 1 October, the base part of pension will be increased by 200 Som. This increase to the pension is not enough to solve the problem of poverty for older persons though. It will not even buy a kilogram of meat. 80% of pensioners are still receiving pensions below the consumption budget of 3086 Som.
Older campaigners in Kyrgyzstan met the President!
On October 1, the International Day of Older Persons, older people's organisations in Kyrgyzstan took part in the Age Demands Action campaign by organising a fair of self-help groups (SHG), where handicrafts and needlework was exhibited.
We were very happy that the President, Roza Isakovna Otunbaeva, visited the fair. She talked to each member of the self-help groups and listened to our problems.
Before this, on 29 September 2010, the State Agency on Social Security and HelpAge International held a round table event called "Attention and care for older persons". Here, we were able to talk to government officials about the problems of poverty for pensioners. On the same day, we talked about older people's issues at a press conference in the "AKIpress" news agency.
Delegation of older people call for change
We called for certain changes:
1. For the pension level to be set according to the minimum consumption budget, considering real expenses for utilities.
2. For the pension to be adjusted according to inflation to stop older people suffering.
3. For social shops to be opened.
4. For pharmacies to be opened at state level so older people can access medicine.
Older people have high hopes for the future
On 10 October, the people of Kyrgyzstan will choose their future when they choose the deputies for Jogorku Kenesh (parliament). We have high hopes for the new government and that it will have a realistic approach to protecting older persons. The labour of older persons is not currently valued at its true worth and that's why older persons are calling for action to protect their rights. Older people should not die with tears in their eyes, bearing a grudge to their government.