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Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva addresses
forum on social protection of orphans and children with special needs
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva attended the 9th international forum on the social protection of children in need, which was held in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, on 20-21 November. The event, which became a platform for dialogue as well as an exchange of ideas and views on improving work and collaboration in the field of the social protection of children with disabilities and children left without parental care, was attended by representatives from charitable organizations, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, diplomatic corps, Uzbek government officials as well as experts from Bosnia, Japan, India, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.
Mrs. Karimova-Tillyaeva opened the forum with a speech focusing on the work done by the You are not alone foundation over the past ten years, as well as the role the charity and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children (NCSAC) have played in improving the situation in the area of the social protection of children with disabilities and children left without parental care in Uzbekistan.
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva said the charitable organization marks its tenth anniversary this year, and the primary focus of its work has been on helping children brought up in state orphanages as well as boarding schools, improving the standards of living in Mercy Homes (orphanages) across the country, providing children with all-round assistance in healthcare and, most importantly, opportunities for their development and education.
“Providing children left without parents with good education is one of the foundation’s priority tasks. We invite the best lecturers from across the country to teach at the Education Centre which was set up under the aegis of the foundation nine years ago,” Karimova-Tillyaeva said, adding that over 2,000 children from orphanages, children with disabilities and low-income families have received training in the charity-backed Education Centre since it was founded. To date, a total of 214 of the centre’s graduates became students of the country’s most prestigious universities, she went on to say.
“The main rational for setting up the Education Center was to provide children with the opportunity to get comprehensive education, so that in future they could get decent jobs, are ready for independent life and able to earn their living. Their further adaptation to independent living following graduation from orphanages is a matter of great significance to us. We teach our children to gradually explore the outside world, how to live in the adult world outside the orphanage. It’s very important for us to meet the primary needs of the child, to create decent living conditions. However, at the same time we attach particular significance to teaching our children to be responsible people who are able to make the right choices and plan their lives.” Karimova-Tillyaeva went on to say.
She also underlined a key role her charity played in promoting a number of legal acts in the area of protecting the rights and interests of children left without parental care.
The foundation initiated the adoption of new regulations “on Mercy Homes and orphanages for children under the age of three”; amendments to the regulations “On the adoption of minors”, “On foster care”. In 2010 the charity initiated the adoption of regulations “On the order of providing accommodation to orphaned children and children left without parental care”. It was also involved in drafting the bill “On the guarantees of the rights of the child” (the law was adopted in 2008) and the bill “On guardianship”.
The foundation played a lead role in drafting the bill “On the Ombudsman for children”, which is currently under consideration.
In her report, Karimova-Tillyaeva said a notable progress has been achieved by the charity in the area of deinstitutionalization – preventing new entries of children in orphanages and reintegrating children from institutional homes in to families. Work in this area is being done in cooperation with the Public Education Ministry, administration of orphanages, as well as international organizations.Whereas in 2002 there were 29 orphanages with more than 3,600 children, at present slightly over 2,500 children are brought up in Uzbekistan’s mercy homes.
The foundation continues providing children with support following their graduation from orphanages. With the charity’s backing, over 350 orphanage graduates have been provided with housing and over 700 have received assistance in restoring their lost housing rights.
In her speech, Mrs Karimova-Tillyaeva also focused on cooperation between the foundation and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children in the area of promoting education for children with disabilities. She gave a detailed overview of the NCSAC’s work in providing comprehensive medical and educational support to children with special needs.
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