Many governments have incentives for citizens who have multiple children – but Kazakhstan goes so far as to award medals to its ‘hero mothers’ who keep the birth rate high.
Mums are given silver medals at six children and gold at seven kids or more. Medal holders also receive an allowance from the government for their entire lives. And although they don’t win medals, families of four children or more are still provided with a financial support programme until the kids are aged 21.
The practice of decorating these mums goes back to the Soviet Union, which established a ‘mother heroine’ award in 1944 for families with 10 or more children.
Although awards now go to smaller families than they did in Soviet times, keeping the birth rate high is still very much a priority for the Kazakh government.
“Everybody always talks about it, to have more children, to make our population bigger,” says Aksana Eleusezova of Kazakhstan’s Department of Labour and Social Programmes.
Editing by Bernadette Young.