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Together, Timur Tillyaev and his wife, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, make quite the couple. They operate numerous philanthropic NGOs, are prominent activists fighting water scarcity, have produced a film, published a book, each run successful businesses whilst all the while raising three beautiful children. Among their diverse interests the most celebrated would have to be their oldest foundation, You Are Not Alone. Launched in 2002, it operates in their native Uzbekistan and is an expression of their compassion for those children living in extreme hardship there. The organization seeks to help underprivileged kids build a better life for themselves. A central focus of this program is education. Significant numbers of gifted students have been granted scholarships to pursue their studies at universities both domestic and international. As Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva have said elsewhere, “Education is at the heart of everything the You Are Not Alone foundation does.”
Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva are also concerned about young learning. One of their earliest programs was an ambitious scheme to redevelop orphanages and care homes right across Uzbekistan. From refitting existing institutions to designing and constructing purpose-built facilities their goal is always to, “ensure that vulnerable children grow up in a caring and loving environment.” Another innovation of Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva’s foundation was to form a partnership with French NGO, Association La Chaîne de l’Espoir (Chain of Hope). Together, they’ve been able to bring foreign expertise to treat underprivileged Uzbeks with chronic cardiac conditions. To date, hundreds of patients have received specialized care. Seeing You Are Not Alone go from strength-to-strength brings Timur Tillyaev and Lola Tillyaeva enormous satisfaction.
The National Centre for the Social Adaption of Children (NCSAC), the couple’s second foundation, was launched in 2004. Its work focuses on the provision of medical and educational assistance to children with disabilities. It is held in high esteem right across Uzbekistan and is unique in the region. Kids with conditions like Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy, receive a range of services free of charge. As Lola’s webpage explains, it “seeks to provide life-enhancing opportunities to children with disabilities, offering diagnosis, orthopaedic and neurological treatment, speech therapy and education without cost.”
Thousands of children have benefitted from this program. For a family of limited means the provision of a sturdy wheelchair can be literally life changing – seeing one walk for the first time must seem miraculous. Other services include counselling and financial advice. These include several specifically created for mothers who’ve been bullied or marginalized by their husbands and families due to their child’s condition. In this way, the foundation lives up to its goal of ensuring, “every child with special needs who comes to the Centre for therapy attains his or her full potential.”
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