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25 y.o. Kazakhstani programmer donates $2 million for cancer research

Askhat Murzabayev. Photo © hipo.kz Askhat Murzabayev. Photo © hipo.kz

What does a 25 y.o. man dream of after earning his first couple of million dollars? For Askhat Murzabayev, a former Big Data programmer at Barclays the answer is not a fancy car, or a house, or investments to generate more profit. After half a year's work at Barclays, Murzabayev earned a little over $2 million and donated the money to the International Cancer Research Center. The Kazakhstani talked with a blogger Bota Zhumanov about his work, future goals and ultimately charity.

"To be honest, the final result of the projects I work on is not about money, for me new projects first and foremost give new experience, new connections, new knowledge and new challenges. We had a chat with top-managers about what bankers spend money on. Many people think it is all about cigarettes, nightclubs, yachts and other things. But many bankers at Barclays lead a healthy lifestyle, run marathons and volunteer for good causes. So at this meeting, I said that I want to donate my earnings for a good cause of global importance. Basically, I donated my earnings to the international organization that researches cancer treatment. All the top-managers of the bank told me that they would donate 2 pounds each on every one pound I donate," Murzabayev said.

The Kazakhstani said that a person who was able to earn one million dollars was surely capable of earning more. "But it should not be the goal of one’s life. The goal has to be something much bigger than just money," he explained.

"I think the biggest problem today is cancer. But this problem cannot be solved by just increasing the number of available hospital beds. In oncology it is very important to understand what causes the illness in the very beginning. In fact, the tests are very complicated," Murzabayev said.

 "I admire people who dedicate their lives to cancer research. These people are so much stronger and braver than me. That's why I want to support them, especially since I see that science does not receive enough funding. Personally, I wanted to support financially the people who dedicate their lives to solving the global problem," the young Kazakh programmer said.

Askhat Murzabayev also spoke about one of his projects in Kazakhstan. He is a co-founder of HiPO.kz startup project that works on finding jobs for talented Kazakhstanis with high potential. According to Murzabayev, the idea of the project is to gather Kazakhtanis with high potential and give them best available opportunities on the job market.

"I want to create a useful serves that will bring benefit to people and make me proud," he said.

 The main characteristic of a high-potential professional, according to Murzabayev, is the person's attitude towards his or her job. "A candidate has to have a goal and know how a certain company can help him or her achieve the goal. These "right" people "with big goals" bring 2 or 3 times more profit than people who come to work for a pay only," Murzabayev said. 

But these vision and desire to reach bigger goals that are not defined in monetary terms surely have to be cultivated in a person from early age, he said.

In an interview with Esquire Kazakhstan last year, Murzabayev said that he liked working with teens and children. "I want to light up fire in their eyes and inspire them. I want to explain that not everything is "paid for" and "agashka" (higher up) doesn't get to decide on everything. They ask me what profession to choose. I have a ready answer for them. "If you have an average or below average competence, no one will need you. But if you are the best lawyer, doctor, professor or journalists in Kazakhstan, there will be a job for you despite any crisis," the programmer said.

The young Kazakhstani reminded of the importance of self-motivation and the desire to reach goals that are fulfilling in the way money can't ever be.

By Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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