Lola Tillyaeva has earned a well-deserved reputation for contributing to the educational and cultural development of her Uzbek homeland. Though she is now based overseas, her attachment to the land of her birth is profound. This can be witnessed through her longest-running foundation, You Are Not Alone, which has been supporting the education of disadvantaged kids in Uzbekistan for almost two decades.
One of the foundation’s initiatives is the Educational Centre. Through this initiative, Lola’s team hired specialist educators who tailor their approach to deal with each student’s specific challenges. They witnessed a reduction in truancy and improvement in student behavior, both in class and outside the school. In the long term, many students have gone on to attend university where the foundation has continued to support them. All of this is part of You Are Not Alone’s goal of ensuring, “every child with special needs who comes to the Centre for therapy attains his or her full potential.”
Lola Tillyaeva’s foundation also targets early childhood education. It has done this by refurbishing orphanages and in some cases, constructing purpose-built facilities from scratch. All of this has been done to ensure that “education is at the heart of everything the You Are Not Alone foundation does.”
Lola also supports numerous programs aimed at promoting the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. In 2018, along with her husband businessman Timur Tillyaev, she co-produced the film Ulugh Beg: The Man Who Unlocked the Universe. Starring charismatic Frenchman, Armand Assante and narrated by Vincent Cassel, the film tells the story of Ulugh Beg, a Timurid sultan, astronomer and mathematician. Though a national hero in Uzbekistan, he remains largely unknown outside Central Asia, and thus became the subject of the film co-produced by the couple. As Timur explained it:
“I have been fascinated by Ulugh Beg ever since I was a child. Every time I visited Samarkand and heard about the scientific discoveries made by this celebrated scholar and peace-loving ruler – a man who in the 15th century turned Samarkand into the epicenter of the world’s most advanced studies in astronomy – I thought that his extraordinary story should be told to the world.”
More recently, Lola Tillyaeva opened the gallery La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan in the heart ofParis. Offering a selection of Uzbek hand crafted items, furniture and other pieces of decorative art, the gallery works hard to display each item to reflect its unique cultural context. Lola envisages it as a way to help introduce Uzbek culture to a European audience. She sees La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan as “a cultural bridge between Europe and Central Asia, providing a singular portal to Uzbekistan right in the heart of Paris.”
A visitor the gallery, said: “Just push the door of “La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan” in the heart of the French capital to be transported to a fascinating country. An open window to this country’s rich culture and artisanal ways, the Central Asian gem offers a total change of scenery through the objects and books it offers.”