Share this story
First launched in 2002 by Lola Karimova Tillyaeva and her husband, Timur Tillyaev, the You Are Not Alone foundation has grown into a respected philanthropic organization in Uzbekistan that supports countless children and families.Though the couple are now based overseas, they still feel a strong attachment to Uzbekistan and the organization was set up to help underprivileged Uzbek kids and their families. Over the years, the programs YANAF provides has expanded but its founding goal has remained constant: “ensuring that vulnerable children grow up in a caring and loving environment.”
In its earlier days, the foundation funded upgrades and refurbishments of existing orphanages and mercy homes in Uzbekistan. As their expertise has grown, Lola Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev have also expanded their role. In recognition of the fact that some existing facilities were not fit for purpose, they are now able to design and construct purpose-specific buildings, fitting them with the latest equipment and employing highly qualified staff.
Education is a major priority of the couple’s philanthropic work and is “at the heart of everything the You Are Not Alone foundation does. Working through The Educational Centre, the foundation helps vulnerable kids stay in school. They help students with a wide variety of problems which may be stopping them from going to school, whether it is financial hardship, lack of family support, learning difficulties or physical disabilities. Specialist educators are on hand to identify what is needed, tailor programs to assist children or simply be a mentor. The results have been remarkable. Student behavior, both in school and beyond, has improved significantly. Almost 3,000 students have been helped so far with many also going onto university. One of the secrets of their success is the individual approach taken to each child. As Lola Tillyaeva puts it,
“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 career options available to them, helping them to find their own best match.”
With healthcare also a top priority of the foundation, a program introduced aims to improve patient care by identifying and rectifying shortages. On learning about serious shortages at the State Perinatal Centre in Tashkent, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev provided new pieces of equipment such as x-ray systems, cardiac monitors and ultrasound machines. The impact of this was dramatic, especially for mothers and their newborns . Worth mentioning is also You Are Not Alone’s ongoing partnership with the French NGO, Association La Chaîne de l’Espoir (Chain of Hope), which specializes in treating chronic cardiac conditions. Together, both organizations have arranged for hundreds of disadvantaged Uzbeks to receive first-class medical care. On occasion, Lola and Timur fly patients overseas to ensure they get the best care possible.
Perhaps not as well-known is the work that You Are Not Alone does to provide, “legal, social and psychological support to children brought up at orphanages.” To date, hundreds of orphaned children have been supported with issues relating to lost housing rights, recovering state ID cards and a variety of other matters.
Share this story