Chek, Kyrgyzstan


Photographer: Elyor Nematov

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Sixty-year-old Ainysa squats outside her home in Chek, a village in western Kyrgyzstan, with her six-year-old grandson. After the parents of her grandson divorced, like millions of other adults from Central Asia, they both went to work in Russia. For the last few years, her grandson has only seen his mother once a year. He has had no contact with his father. The local government provides Ainysa with almost no support for her grandson. She is one of many grandmothers across Central Asia who have become the main source of learning for a young child.