Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov has a deep sense of social responsibility. This is proved by the work of his charity aimed at improving the quality of life of his compatriots, especially of those with special needs and reduced capabilities. An ambitious adaption programme for socialisation of autistic children through the development of a network of Assyl Miras autism centres, where Bulat Utemuratov invested over USD 12.5 mln, was the first step of Utemuratov’s Foundation. The programme has been running for 3 years now and covers over 3,000 children in six cities of the country.
In all, public activity of Bulat Utemuratov is outstandingly broad. For education, these are investments in raising the standards of higher education in one of the most prestigious universities of the country – Narxoz, building a network of British Haileybury Schools the leavers of which easily enter the best universities of the world. For the sports, it is comprehensive development and support of Bulat Utemuratov’s favourite – tennis, starting from the cultivation of children’s tennis and creation of an extensive tennis infrastructure in all cities of Kazakhstan to the support of promising sportsmen and sponsorship of the national team. For the health care – fitting of children’s medical centres, perinatal and rehabilitation centres, orphanages with vitally important equipment, support of research in infantile cerebral palsy and assistance to the association of parents of ICP children. Bulat Utemuratov renders assistance to people in distress following natural disasters. He is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ballet and National Dance Development and Support Fund.
Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation initiates programmes aimed at development of the national culture and arts in the field of cinema and music, creative skills with further occupational guidance for underprivileged children. And now Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation commences one more new and, as always, very needful for people project related to the renovation of the Main Botanical Garden in Almaty.
Lungs of Almaty
The largest in Almaty, the ex-capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Main Botanical Garden is not just the most beautiful arboretum sprawling on over 100 hectares. This is a serious research institution. Here they study phytointroduction of flower and fruit plants, mycology, dendrology, geobotanics, develop seed production, deal with rare plant protection problems and gene resources protection and with many other issues – from the use of rare plant species for pharmaceutical purposes to the cultivation of nursery transplants and seedlings for greening their hometown. The Garden’s collection amounts to almost 8,000 species of flora represented in unique expositions.
The Almaty Botanical Garden turns 86 in 2018. The institute has done a large amount of scientific work for these years and was famed for its achievements in the international arena, but the lack of financing, misapplication of funds and negative external factors have practically sent its infrastructure into ruin.
The task of preserving the Main Botanical Garden is extremely important for stabilisation of the ecological situation in Almaty located in a natural piedmont closed depression where industrial exhausts, dust and smog of the big city are accumulated. This garden is the lungs of the city. Prominent philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov volunteered to save and reconstruct the botanical garden.
Bulat Utemuratov is ready to invest USD 15 mln in the considerate restoration of this object, reconstruction works are scheduled to be completed by midyear 2020. And the main thing will be to avoid damage to the integrity of the garden’s unique phyto-collection, to its most beautiful landscape exhibits, but to emphasise the distinctness of the Almaty arboretum, make it unique and raise it to the new quality level. In the end, the botanical garden must become the favourite recreational place for the urban community, a location for phyto-exhibitions and festivals, a tourist attraction.
So what does the renewed concept of the Almaty arboretum include?
- A modern comprehensive irrigation system fully covering the entire botanical garden territory with zoned sections of sprinkler and drip irrigation for different plant species. Water supply will be sourced out of accumulating lakes filled in from mountainous rivers through the floodgate system.
- Replacement of ruined and damaged sections of fencing along the entire perimeter of the garden will be done in a uniform style. Plus building of footpaths and walks inside the garden.
- Full renovation of entrances to the garden taking into consideration thematic designer solutions. The entrances will also be equipped with ticket offices, food, beverage and souvenir stations made in a single art style; concept benches and recreational areas will be set inside.
- The hi-tech package of the reconstruction plan includes installation of economic illumination of the garden’s territory and lighting for individual sculptures, fountains, designer items; installation of security equipment and CCTV; and development of a mobile application for sightseeing – audio-guide.
- A special point in Bulat Utemuratov’s plan of reconstruction is satisfaction of needs of disabled people visiting the botanical garden. These will be secured through special paths, ramps, bathrooms and specifically developed programmes of adaptation horticulture.
The best landscape professionals of Kazakhstan, as well as foreign experts, are invited to develop this ambitious plan and to turn it into reality. Besides, every resident of Almaty can take part in the discussion of the suggested novelties, express his/her opinion and come up with suggestions for the garden reconstruction plan developed and financed by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation on charity terms.
Upon completion of the reconstruction, the botanical garden renovated with Bulat Utemuratov’s participation will revive as a landmark of Almaty with its own, unique charisma. It will remain a picturesque island of nature among urban blocks and a place of work for botanic scientists. And, obviously, this is not the last of altruistic social initiatives of businessman Bulat Utemuratov.