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Almina Zhidebayeva

Orphanage Supporter and Volunteer, “I am Near You” App Founder
and an Art Enthusiast

Almina is a 17 year old creative, patriotic artist and a young entrepreneur from Kazakhstan who believes that art is a universal language that unites people and that through art we can make the world a better place. Almina believes that everyone should have equal opportunities for self-actualisation, so she shares her experience with others to make an impact on the community through art. 

During the pandemic Almina was stuck with her family at home and was very bored. At the time, many of her neighbors – elderly people were all alone within four walls feeling sad and lonely. And Almina started drawing their portraits. When she saw tears in their eyes when they received the portraits, she knew that art is a cure for the soul that requires no language, no words, it builds a connection that will last for centuries. 

Back then she started thinking of the ways to make a meaningful change through art. Her first set of drawings was on forest fires, drawing attention to the world climate issues. The exhibition was small and yet very successful, as the paintings were so strong and scary, no one left untouched by the topic.

Almina continues to develop this topic today and she stays active both at her school and outside. Outside of school, Almina wastes no time. In the summer of 2022, Almina attended Yale University, where she took two college level art courses. After that, she was inspired to share her knowledge and vision, and upon return, Almina has started a weekly art workshop at an orphanage in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Every Friday there is a 2 hour session, teaching different techniques and work with various materials. Almina teaches a group of 10-12 kids aged 7-13. She wants to give kids a chance to get to know art and possibly choose it as a future profession. At the end of Spring’23 she’s planning to host an exhibition to raise funds for the equipment of an art class. In February, 2022 when the war between Ukraine and Russia broke out, Almina came up with the idea of creating an app that would bring volunteers together and let them help those in need easily. Almina designed an app and started working with a team of programmers, interpreters and volunteers in Ukraine. It was launched in April 2022 and is now donated to an NGO for the benefit of continuing support of Ukrainian people. During the winter of 2021, Almina was a part of the internship at the headquarters of Uber Company. She was the project manager of a team of five people. The goal was to make a proposal of an app called "Uber Teens".This helps Almina now to find ways to raise and earn money that she uses for the good deeds. Almina is also active on social media: Instagram and TikTok, where she regularly posts about the history of art, progress of the kids at the orphanage and other art topics like using various materials and working in different techniques. Art is so much fun and Almina wants to promote it amongst youth. (@art__n__stuff)

At school, Almina is a scholar, a member of a school skiing team and a deputy Art Captain in one of the houses. Almina and the Team are responsible for organizing events on important local and global issues, motivating and supporting students, as well as engaging little ones in art. Almina is currently one of the art directors of a dog charity (, where the team is raising money in different ways to support the local volunteers and dog shelters. 

She participates in various competitions and has won 1st place for snowboarding, 3rd prace in an OhMyEcon Olympiad,  silver in the UKMT Senior Mathematical Challenge, placed in top 10 in an HIV related contest from Columbia University and was involved in Wharton Investment Challenge.  

Almina dreams of going to a leading global university and works hard every day to get into one. Her best option is Columbia, as it is based in New York, where there are so many art objects and communities of artists. She plans to study art and business. And sees herself promoting art amongst children and growing to be a great artist herself. She believes she can reach out to many people through her art and change the world for the better. 

Almina Zhidebayeva: Team Members
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