Hardships brings out the best in people. It polishes them to handle the tough situations that life will throw at them time and time again. It is these difficult situations in life that make a person headstrong and unshakeable. They become more focused and dedicated to achieving their goals. To explain the context better, recall the concept of the movie ‘A Pursuit of Happiness' The movie gives a clear message that hardships are one of the driving forces that keep a person motivated. Similarly, the world has many Chris Gardners (character’s name) pushing through the rough days of life and latching on to the rope of hope, just to see a better future.
'A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure’ – Henry Kissenger
Kuzzat Altay, a Uyghur-American Human Rights Activist, has a similar story. He belongs to Uyghur, an ethnic group found in Xinjiang in China. Born and brought up in this rapidly-progressing country, Kuzzat had never, in his wildest dreams, imagined being targeted by the government for his ethnicity. But the expansion of the concentration camps proved true the hard-to-swallow truth.
The Chinese government had begun suppressing the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang. Kuzzat experienced this personally as he heard his father saying, ‘Son, they are taking me,’ as they took him away. The 67-year-old individual was detained in the Xinjiang camps with 1.5 million people, according to United Nations. He returned with a broken leg in 2020, a disability he had to live with throughout his life.
Coming Out Strong
The loss of a parent is incomparable to all other losses in life. It becomes very difficult to cope with life without their guiding hand. While many people lose hope or give up, Kuzzat came out even stronger. Disturbed by the situation, he fled from China at the age of 21 in 2005 and settled in Turkey. He spent three years in there and moved to Farifax in Virginia in 2008 as a refugee. Despite being shaken from the inside, Kuzzat was determined to do better for people belonging to his ethnicity. He worked hard to survive in the States and used his knowledge in IT as bait to bag job opportunities. He worked at the top-1o IT consulting firms such as CGI, Accenture, and many more. He also has the experience of working on high visibility projects at HealthCare.gov. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School in the General Management Program (GMP).
Kuzzat Altay was driven by the passion of improving the lives of the Uyghur living in China. To achieve this purpose, he had to first establish himself as a strong and renowned personality. With his and knowledge and experience, he launched Cybertek in August 2015. This school aims at redefining traditional IT training and creating exceptionally talented students. Experiencing first-hand adversity, Altay knew the struggles one had to face while being away from family.
So, his school aims to educate and train those who are disadvantaged and belong to communities that are at risk. The company’s programs are meant to successfully teach and lead the students toward high-level IT jobs, regardless of their IT background. By focusing on developing specific skillsets, Cybertek emphasizes how students need a community of teachers and mentors already in the field to succeed in the industry. Cybertek prepares students to be part of top-tier software development teams. Altay's school has helped hundreds of young aspiring individuals to help gain a high-paying job at reputable IT organizations across the US. The motto of his school is,
Being financially and mentally strong, Kuzzat then took the step to create the ‘Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network,’ to develop Human Resources and Capital for empowering Uyghur Cause in 2018.’ He started this association after he received a voice message from his father saying that the Chinese government was taking him to an internment camp. But as every good cause has hurdles in its path, he too faced some issues. Initially, the group Xinjiang, the participants backed off. This did not lower his spirits, and he kept moving forward.
'Always get up and keep moving forward, it may be slow, but it is still progress.' – Dianna Morrow.
It is said that passion combined with consistency always results in good. Similar was the case with Kuzzat Altay; he kept presenting this matter on several occasions and events. He had made it a point to bring this issue under the light and expose it to the people worldwide. As the president of ‘Uyghur American Association,' he is often found delivering powerful speeches to educate the masses about the Uyghur genocide happening in China under the misguiding label of 're-educating camps.'
At various conferences, Altay has revealed that his father was a retired professional and did not require any skills but was still dragged to the camps. Even though his father was released in 2020, Kuzzat cannot get in contact with him. China made his denounce his own son on Chinese state TV. The authorities threatened to put Kuzzat’s father in the camp again if he tried to contact his son. This is not just Kuzzat’s story but of all other minorities living under tyrannical rule in countries around the world.
The human rights activist, CEO, and Entrepreneur in Virginia continues his efforts to bring a change with his peaceful appeals to release the taken. People like Kuzzat Altay are proof that humanity is still alive, and there is hope for a better and safer future for the Uyghurs and other people around the world.