International conference on social inclusion of children left without parental care and children with special needs
On 31 January – 1 February Tashkent hosted an international conference on “Social inclusion: new milestones in the socialization of children”.
The event was organised under the aegis of the You Are Not Alone Foundation and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children. It was attended by about 200 local and international experts, as well as representatives from UNESCO, UNICEF, the UNDP and the EU Delegation to Uzbekistan.
“We frequently come across a situation whereby children raised at orphanages and children with special needs are unable to participate effectively in the community’s life and feel alienated and distanced from mainstream society. The social inclusion of children with special needs and those left without parental care should primarily be directed at protecting these children against discrimination and neglect, and at providing opportunities for their education, development and healthcare, encouraging these children to realize their potential to the full. I am confident that by joining our efforts we will be able to change public attitudes towards children in need and to help them realise their potential, thereby giving them faith and hope in the future,” said Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the You Are Not Alone Foundation and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children.
The international conference served as a platform for dialogue and an exchange of experience between local and international experts to develop effective mechanisms in the area of the social integration and adaptation of children in need. Participants developed proposals aimed at ensuring that children in need have access to basic capabilities such as the ability to receive education, do sport and participate in the community’s cultural life. The conference participants also worked out proposals regarding vocational training for teenagers with special needs, which is designed to contribute towards their future social-economic inclusion in society.
During the event those in attendance were briefed on the extensive experience gained by the You Are Not Alone Foundation and the Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children in the area of providing comprehensive help and support to orphaned children and those with disabilities.
The You Are Not Alone Foundation was set up by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva in 2002 to provide assistance to orphanages and children left without parental care in Uzbekistan. Two years later, in 2004, Ms Karimova-Tillyaeva founded the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children, a charitable organization which provides medical and educational assistance to children with disabilities.
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva’s Foundation has initiated and implemented several large-scale projects, building, renovating and refurbishing a number of Mercy Homes (orphanages) in Uzbekistan. As a result, these orphanages have been provided with excellent facilities as well as all conditions children need to live, grow and receive a solid education in a comfortable and friendly environment.