The promotion of better education and an improved learning environment is a top priority in the Foundation’s work with Mercy Homes. There are many gifted children being brought up in orphanages who risk not realising their full potential because they lag behind their peers in terms of education and development due to lack of parental support. This may subsequently have an adverse effect on the children’s future as well as on their transition to independent adulthood when they graduate from Mercy Homes.
To tackle these issues, in 2003 the You Are Not Alone Foundation founded the Educational Centre, whose main goal is to raise children’s understanding of the uniquely important role education plays in building a better future. A second critical goal is to positively influence children from orphanages and disadvantaged families to take post-secondary education.
Specialists at the Educational Centre play an important part in the children’s development. Often taking on a parental role, they encourage the children, motivating them towards higher academic standards, better overall behaviour and regular attendance by taking a caring interest in their day-to-day progress and helping them develop a positive attitude towards schooling.
The Educational Centre’s specialists seek to create a culture of learning and to boost the children’s confidence by treating each child as an individual, acknowledging and building on their strong points while providing them with support and encouragement as they explore the many career options available to them, helping them to find their own best match.
Children have attended classes in maths, chemistry, biology, physics, IT, English, ethics, Uzbek and Russian language and literature, and history. Students also have the opportunity to develop their creative skills by taking part in dance, singing and painting classes. A debate club helps improve the children’s ability to think critically and hone their public speaking skills. In addition, the charity invited top lecturers and teachers from across the country to prepare children brought up in Mercy Homes, children from low-income families and children with special needs for college, university and lyceum entrance exams.
The Foundation also arranges for children to visit universities and vocational colleges to help them with post secondary education and career choices.
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 most prestigious universities and colleges, including the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, the Tashkent branch of the Moscow State University, the National University of Uzbekistan, the Tashkent Institute of Oriental Studies, the Tashkent University of Economics, the Tashkent Institute of Highways, the Tashkent Institute of Architecture and Construction, the University of World Languages, the Tashkent Institute of Culture, Termez State University, Tashkent Medical Academy, the National Institute of Arts and Design, and the Tashkent Chemical and Technological Institute.
The charity also arranges classes for children from Mercy Homes on how to handle day-to-day tasks relating to housekeeping, cooking and managing a family budget.