A native of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva serves as the country’s envoy to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and works to promote the historical and cultural heritage of the Central Asian nation. In addition to her role with UNESCO, Karimova-Tillyaeva is a proponent of the importance of sports and education in the development of children. She is also a champion of causes relating to children with disabilities and those without a permanent residence. Since 2005, she has served as the president of the Uzbekistan Gymnastics Federation. In addition, Ms. Karimova-Tillyaeva maintains an active role with three nonprofit organizations. The chair of the Board of Trustees of the Islam Karimov Foundation, she is also the founder of the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children and the You Are Not Alone Foundation.
You Are Not Alone Foundation
The You Are Not Alone Foundation, which was established in 2002, works to improve the lives of abandoned and orphaned children by providing access to education, quality medical care, and psychological support. The ultimate goal of the foundation is to ensure that all vulnerable children in Uzbekistan reach their full potential and grow up in a loving environment that fosters the development of skills and attributes pivotal to helping them to become self-reliant and confident adults.
Much of the foundation’s work involves building and renovating orphanages, also known as Mercy Homes. From 2010 to 2015, the You Are Not Alone Foundation completed renovation projects in Tashkent’s Muruvvat orphanage for children with disabilities, the Tashkent orphanage for children under the age of 3, and the Samarkand Mercy Home No. 10, among others. It also oversaw the relocation and furnishing of the Tashkent Mercy Home No. 23 and Samarkand Mercy Home No. 6. In addition to assisting with facility upgrades and educational programming, members of the foundation frequently visit Mercy Homes to ensure the food served is in compliance with nutritional requirements for children. The foundation also arranges medical check-ups and provides grants for medical procedures for children living in Mercy Homes.
National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children
Since its inception in 2004, the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children (NCSAC) has partnered with the You Are Not Alone Foundation on projects related to health and education. NCSAC is one of the preeminent Central Asian charities in regard to its extensive range of services offered to children with disabilities. Offering programming free of charge, the organization also provides services in the areas of speech therapy and education, orthopedic and neurological treatment, as well as diagnosis.
NCSAC employs experienced professionals, including speech therapists, psychologists, therapeutic exercise specialists, and sign-language teachers who work together to create personalized development programs for each child who visits. The facility provides up-to-date equipment to be utilized by children diagnosed with musculoskeletal disorders: Solostep physical therapy devices, standing frames, and a Lokomat treadmill. Additionally, it offers hearing devices, prostheses, and wheelchairs to children undergoing treatment there. Since its inception in 2004, NCSAC has provided life-changing services to more than 7,500 children with disabilities.
While much of its work involves personalized treatment programs, NCSAC also provides assistance to children with disabilities who aspire to learn in a public school setting. The parents of the children are not forgotten either. The nonprofit provides counseling and financial assistance to parents in need with a particular focus on women who have been victimized by their families as a result of their child’s physical disability. NCSAC is currently focused on expanding its programming and services to rural regions in Uzbekistan. It has already established branches in Samarkand and Ferghana and, in conjunction with government bodies, is setting up a branch in the southern region of Karshi.
Islam Karimov Foundation
A charitable organization, the Islam Karimov Foundation was named after the founder of the independent Republic of Uzbekistan, who presided over the country from 1990 until his death in 2016. The goal of the foundation is to promote the country’s cultural and historical heritage on a global scale. One of the ways in which it achieves this goal is by helping authors publish books, primarily those that explore themes related to the country’s history and traditions, as well as its arts and culture. In order to supplement its support of literary endeavors, the organization promotes educational debates and cultural events. In addition, it funds documentaries and feature films that explore similar themes.
Moreover, the Islam Karimov Foundation supports students in their pursuit of degrees across a variety of academic disciplines at universities around the world. In 2017, the foundation announced that it would be offering scholarships to students pursuing master’s degrees in the fields of natural sciences; mechanical engineering; food technology, food safety, food production and marketing; water and land resources management; architecture, fine arts, and industrial and architectural design.