Founded by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva in 2002, the You Are Not Alone Foundation is a charitable organization committed to improving the lives of orphaned and abandoned children by providing them with high standards of care and opportunities for a better future through education and skills training, as well as offering vital access to quality medical care and psychological support.
The charity’s primary goals are to ensure that vulnerable children grow up in a caring and loving environment, to help unlock children’s potential by providing them with an all-round education, and to prepare children for independent life, encouraging them to become self-reliant, confident and emotionally stable young adults.
The foundation has initiated and implemented several large-scale projects, building, renovating and refurbishing a number of Mercy Homes (orphanages) throughout Uzbekistan, providing them with the facilities and conditions children need to live, grow and receive a sound education.
From 2010 to 2015 the You Are Not Alone Foundation carried out renovation and refurbishment work in: the Muruvvat orphanage for children with disabilities in Tashkent; the Tashkent orphanage for children under the age of three; Chirchik Mercy Home (orphanage) No. 14 and Samarkand Mercy Home No. 10.
The foundation has equipped these charitable institutions with modern furniture and advanced facilities, thanks to which the children can live and study in comfort. In 2011, the Kibray orphanage for children with severe learning disabilities was equipped with new furniture and other necessities.
The foundation has also overseen major relocation projects for Tashkent Mercy Home No. 23 and Samarkand Mercy Home No. 6, thanks to which these two orphanages now enjoy brand new premises built and furnished by the foundation.
In partnership with the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children (NCSAC), the You Are Not Alone Foundation provides medical, educational and financial assistance to disabled children and children from disadvantaged families, as well as to gifted children who have insufficient opportunities for development.
The Foundation provides funding for the treatment of children from orphanages and low-income families, including surgery grants for children with serious medical conditions. It arranges regular medical checks for children living in Mercy Homes.
Since July 2015, the Foundation has collaborated with the French Association La Chaîne de l’Espoir (Chain of Hope) to offer specialist advice and treatment to children with congenital heart diseases, including surgery in France.
As part of a charity campaign backed by the You Are Not Alone Foundation, over the past three years French medical experts have operated on more than 90 Uzbek children with congenital heart conditions from low-income families and orphanages.
The Foundation has financed state-of-the-art medical equipment for several specialist hospitals in Uzbekistan, including the State Perinatal Centre and the National Specialized Surgery Centre in Tashkent.
The You Are Not Alone Foundation puts education at the heart of most of its projects.
An Educational Centre working under the auspices of the charity seeks to motivate children raised in orphanages towards higher academic standards and better overall behaviour and attendance, and to help develop a positive attitude towards schooling, as well as to prepare them for entrance examinations in lyceums, colleges and universities.
Children attend classes in a range of subjects and have the opportunity to develop their creative skills in dance, singing and painting classes. A debate club helps stimulate critical thinking and public speaking skills.
Over the past 15 years, more than 2,500 children from orphanages and low-income families as well as children with disabilities have received training in the Centre. Over 240 of its graduates went on to study at Uzbekistan’s universities and colleges.
The You Are Not Alone Foundation continues to provide legal, social and psychological support to children brought up at orphanages even after they graduate from Mercy Homes, helping to ensure a smooth transition to independent living. Former residents are provided with assistance in finding jobs as well as housing.