The You are Not Alone Foundation

I would like every orphaned child in Uzbekistan to know that they are not alone and that we will continue doing our utmost to help them succeed in their life.” (Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the You are Not Alone Foundation and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children.)

The You are Not Alone charitable foundation was founded by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva in 2002 to provide comprehensive assistance and support to children left without parental care. The charity’s primary goals are to promote progress among orphaned and abandoned children and to provide them with better access to comprehensive education, as well as to offer assistance in healthcare and psychological support.

Shortly after it was founded, the Foundation devoted five months to a thorough review of all orphanages throughout the country with the aim of devising an action plan to improve the social protection of orphaned and abandoned children. The 2003 review results revealed that the living standards in many of the country’s orphanages were below par; the nutritional requirements set by the Ministry of Health were grossly violated owing to cases of embezzlement by orphanage staff; children were not getting sufficient opportunities for their development and education; the premises of many orphanages were in a state of disrepair.

Based on these findings, the Foundation launched nationwide reforms to improve the situation in Mercy Homes (orphanages) and create conditions close to the home environment. A major focus has been on promoting education for children left without parental care, as well as ensuring food served in orphanages is in strict compliance with nutritional requirements for young people.

Initially, the charity’s activities also focused on children with special needs, but it was later decided that more effort was needed to create opportunities for disabled children, to provide them with all-round assistance for their development and treatment. In 2004 the Foundation was instrumental in setting up the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children, a charitable organization which provides medical and consultative support to children with disabilities and their parents.

In partnership with the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children (NCSAC), the You are Not Alone charitable 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.

With financial backing from the Foundation, a number of orphanages across the country have been renovated, refurbished and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including sports areas, playgrounds, swimming pools and medical units.

New premises of Tashkent Mercy Home No. 23 were built by the You are Not Alone Foundation in 2014. The orphanage’s 2.5 hectares include administrative premises, a medical unit, three residential buildings, a conference room, a library, a sports centre, three swimming pools, a conference hall designed to host up to 250 people, a dining hall for 230 people, and an amphitheater with a large stage.

Mercy Home No. 23.
The children are housed in three residential blocks. With a view to creating conditions similar to the home environment, the architects and designers have devised separate, cozier accommodation units where children live in small groups. Every unit comprises well-furnished bedrooms, a living room, a study, and a utility room.

Mercy Home No. 23.
Sports facilities include a gym fitted with advanced equipment, two winter pools, and a summer pool with a sports ground.

Mercy Home No. 23.
Children can develop their creative skills by attending extracurricular classes in arts, dance, piano, folk instruments and singing. The buildings for extracurricular activities also include studios where children receive training in sewing, hairdressing, pottery, cookery, IT, photography, fine arts and so on, thus giving them a taster of possible future professions.

Mercy Home No. 23.

Mercy Home No. 23.

Mercy Home No. 23.

Mercy Home No. 23.
For the younger residents, an educational programme “Learning by Playing” provides the Montessori educational approach for pre-school children. Fairytale and speech therapy classes also help prepare these younger children for school.

Mercy Home No. 23.
There is also a large library stocked with a wide selection of educational materials as well as fiction and non-fiction books by Uzbek and foreign authors.

Mercy Home No. 23.

An important feature of the new Mercy Home is its Health Centre. Thanks to the medical staff – paediatricians, dentists, physiotherapists, orthopedists, otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists – comprehensive healthcare services are available to the children within the Mercy Home itself. The Health Centre comprises offices for physiotherapy, dental treatment, massage therapy, therapeutic exercises, a juice bar and specialist offices meeting the latest international standards.

Mercy Home No. 23.

The new premises of Mercy Home No. 6 in Samarkand opened in March 2015. The orphanage – home to over 100 children – was founded during the Second World War in 1943 and was originally housed in former prosecutors’ offices, meaning that, apart from being in a sorry state of repair, the premises were ill-suited for children’s needs.
Following Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva’s visit in January 2013, it was decided to relocate Mercy Home No. 6 to brand new premises to be built by the Foundation on an area covering 2.1 hectares in downtown Samarkand.

Mercy Home No. 6
Leading architects, educators and psychologists were all involved in this new project. They worked tirelessly, paying great attention to detail so as to provide children with everything they need to live comfortably, and to create an environment conducive to their development and education.

Mercy Home No. 6
The new premises comprise nine separate buildings, including residential blocks for boys and girls. There are 28 bedrooms, 34 shower rooms and 21 lavatories.

Mercy Home No. 6
Premises for extracurricular activities include a large events hall designed to accommodate up to 90 people, and a well-equipped library, as well as training rooms where children can develop their skills according to personal interest: arts, mathematics, chemistry, IT, dance, drama, musical instruments and singing. Children can also receive practical training in sewing, cooking, hairdressing, woodwork, pottery, and so on, skills which may prove useful in the future.

Mercy Home No. 6
The Mercy Home has also been provided with advanced sports facilities, including a swimming pool, a large multi-purpose sports hall and a football pitch.

Mercy Home No. 6
A new, well-equipped medical unit houses a dentist’s along with physiotherapy and exercise therapy rooms.

Over 1,400 children have been raised in Samarkand Mercy Home No. 10 since it was founded in 1943, and at present the orphanage is home to 138 children. The current premises, built in 1987, were in a state of disrepair, lacking the basic facilities needed for children’s education and development.

Mercy Home No. 10.
As a result of major reconstruction work carried out by the You are Not Alone Foundation in 2013, the orphanage premises have now been completely renovated, refurbished and fitted with state-of-the-art facilities. The newly-refurbished Mercy Home has over 10 classrooms, an exhibition hall, a large canteen, a hall for extracurricular activities, a library, a computer centre, a dance room, a playground, a medical unit and new sports facilities.

Mercy Home No. 10.

Mercy Home No. 10.

On 3rd June 2013, the You are Not Alone Foundation reopened Mercy Home No. 14 in the town of Chirchik (Tashkent region) following major renovation of the premises. This Mercy Home was founded in 1946, and its long-overdue revamp was financed by the Foundation. It is currently home to over 100 children aged between 3 and 15.

Mercy Home No. 14.
Thanks to the extensive renovation work, the orphanage premises now offer state-of-the-art facilities as well as all conditions a child needs to live and grow: new rooms, classrooms, a library, a computer lab, a sports hall and a medical centre have all been fitted with new furniture and equipment.

Mercy Home No. 14.

Mercy Home No. 14.

The Foundation has built new premises on the orphanage land dedicated to extracurricular activities and extra classes where children can prepare for college or lyceum entrance exams.

In 2012 Tashkent Mercy Home for children under the age of three underwent major renovation and reconstruction, also funded by the You are Not Alone Foundation.

The reconstruction of the orphanage was carried out with the aim of creating the atmosphere of a home environment, so the rooms were fully refurbished and fitted with new furniture and facilities, including TV sets, audio systems and mini kitchens.

The medical centre operating within the orphanage was also revamped, including the physical therapy and massage units, all of which were kitted out with the latest technology, including dry hydrotherapy equipment and various pads as well as orthopaedic and exercise facilities designed to develop children’s motor skills.

The home for children with special needs, Muruvvat, was reopened in February 2010 following its renovation and refurbishment. This charity is home to disabled children left without parental care.
“These are special kids and so we should have a special approach towards them. We have tried to create all the right conditions for their comfort and safety, as well as for their development.” (Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva)




In 2011, the Kibray orphanage for children with severe learning disabilities was fully equipped with new furniture and other necessities.

The Kibray orphanage for children with severe learning disabilities.

From 2008 to 2009, the You are Not Alone Foundation funded renovation and refurbishment work at the Tashkent Home for Veterans, including the installation of new furniture and facilities.

With the Foundation’s backing Mercy Homes No. 21 and 22 were fully renovated in 2003-2004.
The old premises of Mercy Home No. 23 were twice renovated in 2009 and 2012.
Summer recreation camps under the Mercy Homes No. 30 and No. 14 were renovated and refurbished by the Foundation in 2011.

In 2012, the Foundation funded a major overhaul of the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children which provides comprehensive support for children with disabilities and developmental delay. The Centre was fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for the functional recovery of children suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.

The National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children.

In 2011, the Foundation provided the State Perinatal Centre in Tashkent with advanced, state-of-the-art medical equipment, including humidity cribs for newborns; phototherapy lamps; Retcam Shuttle ophthalmic imaging system; Voluson E8 and LOGIQ E9 ultrasound machines; electrosurgical coagulator; surgical x-ray system; life support systems, cardiac monitors, and an air purification system.

Medical equipment provided to the State Perinatal Centre.

Medical equipment provided to the State Perinatal Centre.

Medical equipment provided to the State Perinatal Centre.

Medical equipment provided to the State Perinatal Centre.

Medical equipment provided to the State Perinatal Centre.

In 2013, the Foundation renovated and refurbished four operating theatres at the National Specialized Surgery Centre in Tashkent. Thanks to the new, state-of-the-art medical equipment, it is now possible to perform the most complex cardiac surgeries here.

The National Specialized Surgery Centre.

In October 2015 the You are Not Alone Foundation provided the children’s unit of the State Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion with new medical equipment. The hospital suffered from an acute shortage of proper equipment, with only 10 infusion pumps available for the entire children’s unit. The lack of key equipment would considerably delay and complicate the overall process of treatment and therapy.
The Foundation provided the hospital with 10 KellyMed infusion and 30 syringe pumps, which are key in the daily treatment of children with various haematological disorders. The hospital’s children’s unit was also provided with two exhaust hoods for the safe handling of chemotherapeutic agents.

The charity provides wheelchairs, prostheses and hearing devices for children with disabilities who receive treatment at the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children.

In 2003 the 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.

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.

The Educational Centre.

Children attend 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.

Over the past 12 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.

The charity attaches particular importance to providing children brought up in orphanages and other children in need with quality medical care. It arranges regular medical checks for all children living in Mercy Homes.

A special commission of medical experts and the charitable foundations’ staff collaborates with a number of medical institutions, both in Uzbekistan as well as abroad, to consider cases of complex health conditions requiring surgery.

The subsequent operations are performed by Uzbek and foreign specialists both inside Uzbekistan as well as in clinics in Europe, Japan, India and Israel.

At the invitation of the You are Not Alone Foundation, French medical experts who are members of the Association “La Chaine de l’espoir”  – cardiac surgeon Olivier Baron, visceral surgeon Pierre Helardot and anaesthesiologist Catherine Amrein – visited the National Specialized Surgery Centre in Tashkent in July 2015 to examine and consult on children with congenital heart diseases as well as to perform surgical operations.

During their visit, the French doctors examined and provided consultations to about 40 children from Mercy Homes and low-income families, as well as children with disabilities who receive treatment at the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children.

Having examined the children, the French experts decided to operate on Mubina Ismailova, a two-year-old girl from Ferghana suffering from a serious congenital heart condition in need of urgent heart surgery.

The French experts also gave presentations and master classes for their Uzbek counterparts, sharing their experience in paediatric surgery and intensive care as well as in new methods of diagnosis and treatment.

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. With the charity’s backing, over 550 former residents of orphanages have been provided with housing.
Children are also given assistance in resolving matters related to their property and inheritance rights, as well as other legal matters: about 450 former orphanage residents have received legal assistance in recovering their ID cards; the Foundation has helped over 750 children restore their lost housing rights. The charity also provides assistance to former orphanage residents in finding employment.

Since 2003, the Foundation has held an annual forum focusing on the social protection of children with disabilities and children left without parental care. This forum offers an important platform for dialogue as well as providing an opportunity for the exchange of ideas on more effective ways to work and collaborate within the field of the social protection of children with disabilities and those left without parental care.
The event is attended by representatives from Uzbek ministries and agencies, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNDP missions in Uzbekistan, diplomatic corps as well as local and foreign experts.

Аn annual forum focusing on the social protection of children with disabilities and children left without parental care.

In 2013 and 2015, in partnership with the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children and the Uzbek Health Ministry, the You are Not Alone Foundation held international conferences covering a broad range of issues related to autism spectrum disorder and providing assistance to children suffering from it. The events brought together local specialists as well as leading autism spectrum disorder specialists from the USA, France, Austria, Israel, China, and Greece, together with heads of the UNESCO and UNICEF missions in Uzbekistan, and parents of children with autism.

The conferences became a platform for an exchange of professional experience, and served as an impetus for stepping up work in providing comprehensive care and support for children with autism in Uzbekistan.

The You are Not Alone Foundation was the key sponsor behind the Uzbekistan national team’s trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Special Olympics World Summer Games held 25 July – 2 August 2015.

Training camps and competition preparations were arranged under the aegis of Uzbekistan’s Gymnastics Federation, where athletes stayed, trained and underwent pre-participation medical examination and treatment.
Ahead of the Games, the You are Not Alone Foundation prepared an interesting entertainment programme for children, including a trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios, as well as walks in Pacific coast towns.

Uzbekistan’s national team, comprising 20 athletes, gave an outstanding performance at this biggest sporting event of 2015, winning a total of 37 medals: 10 gold, 13 silver and 14 bronze.

“We can be immensely proud of our special athletes and our people who have so wholeheartedly supported our team. The level of every nation’s development can be judged by how it treats people in need of help, its elderly, as well as children and people with special needs. I am very glad and proud that this event has once again borne witness to our people’s openness, warmth and kindness.
This success is a result of our athletes’ strong willpower, personal aspirations and hard work.
I’m sure that their success will be a huge inspiration to many children and their parents, and will serve as testimony to the power of faith in one’s own abilities, perseverance, and the desire to live and pursue one’s dreams!”
(Chair of the Board of Trustees of the You are Not Alone Foundation, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva)

The You are Not Alone Foundation has a long-standing tradition of organising a series of events to mark International Children’s Day.
In June 2015, the Foundation’s festive concert was held at the Turkistan concert hall in Tashkent and brought together nearly 3,000 children. The event was also a chance to acknowledge the best of the best – children who excelled at their studies, sports or arts – and a perfect occasion to express the charity’s appreciation for the hard and relentless work being done by medical workers, hospitals, and clinics, as well as by all Foundation’s friends and partners whose dedication helps save children’s lives.

The “My Dream” exhibition held at the Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan in May 2015 featured paintings and drawings by children from orphanages and low-income families, and children with special needs. It was a heartwarming event where children shared their dreams through their paintings and pavement chalk drawings. It was a very touching moment when children wrote down their dreams on pieces of paper, attached them to colourful balloons and launched them into the sky.

“Every child should have the right to dream and believe that their most cherished dream has the power to come true and turn into reality. Twin brothers Yevgeniy and Alexander Sen are the winners of the children’s art exhibition “My Dream” hosted by the You are Not Alone Foundation. These kind-hearted boys have long cherished their beautiful dream to visit Paris, the city which always featured in all their pictures. I am very glad to have this opportunity to see these little boys’ dream come true.”
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva
Paris, July 2015

Despite our achievements over the past 13 years, we understand that the Foundation still has a lot of work ahead of it to further improve the living standards in orphanages across the country and to ensure that every orphaned child in Uzbekistan receives a comprehensive education and the possibility to realize his or her potential to the full.