Born July 3, 1978, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva is an Uzbek philanthropist and diplomat. She is the daughter of Islam Karimov, former Uzbekistan President, and the wife of businessman Timur Tillyaev. She attended the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent where she earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in International Law. Later, she earned a doctorate in Psychology from Tashkent University.
In January 2008, Karimova-Tellyaeva was appointed Uzbekistan’s Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, a position she still holds.
She is passionate about launching reforms in situations in orphanages in her home country of Uzbekistan. She champions the rights of orphaned children and children with disabilities through the two organizations she heads: You Are Not Alone Foundation and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children. She believes in the ability of education and sports to provide a bridge between civilizations.
You Are Not Alone Foundation
Karimova-Tillyaeva founded the You Are Not Alone Foundation in 2002. This organization provides assistance to children without parents. This charitable organization seeks to promote progress among abandoned and orphaned children through access to education and assistance in healthcare and psychological support.
Mrs. Karimova-Tillyaeva’s Foundation has funded the renovation and refurbishment of many orphanages and special needs institutions throughout Uzbekistan. She hopes to create better conditions for orphans by providing a home environment. The Foundation has equipped orphanages with comfortable furniture and state-of-the-art facilities providing children with a comfortable place to study and live.
Five months were devoted to thoroughly reviewing all orphanages throughout the country soon after the organization was founded. The review revealed that many orphanages in Uzbekistan were in a state of disrepair. Living standards were below par and embezzlement was common. Nutritional requirements were not being met and development and educational opportunities were insufficient.
The Foundation set out to change these Mercy Homes for the better. They improved living standards, ensured strict compliance with nutritional standards set by the Ministry of Health and promoted education within the orphanages.
The Foundation also partnered with Karimova-Tillyaeva’s other organization, the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children, to provide medical care, education and financial assistance to disabled children, gifted children lacking sufficient opportunities for development and children from disadvantaged homes.
National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children
Lola Karimova-Tellyaeva founded the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children (NCSAC) in 2004. This organization focuses on providing adequate care for children with disabilities.
The NCSAC employs speech therapists, psychologists, special educators, therapeutic exercise specialists, neurologists, masseurs, orthopedic surgeons, sign language teachers and therapists to assist with diagnosis, orthopedic and neurological treatment, speech therapy and education to children with disabilities.
Specialists work with each child that comes to the Centre, devising individual development programs, and all of the services are free.
The Centre is equipped with the latest technology and equipment designed for the functional recovery of children suffering musculoskeletal disorders. Talented staff and advanced facilities make improvement in the lives of these children a real possibility.
The organization also promotes quality education for the children. The Centre provides patients with assistance in enrolling in public schools. They further develop educational material appropriate for children with special needs.
The Centre has a sensory room, sand therapy room, Montessori room, juice bar and three-tiered hydrotherapy pool. Each room has its own purpose. The sensory room helps stimulate an individual’s senses and evoke positive motor and emotional responses. It is very therapeutic for children with sensory processing disorders.
The sand therapy room helps with diagnosis as well as therapy. Children are able to drawings and paintings in the sand. There are also sand related props that allow individuals to create imaginative worlds in the sand.
The Montessori room is filled with music and attention-grabbing colors that boost creativity. The pools are equipped to facilitate children with special needs. Aqua therapy improves circulation, relieves pain and relaxes muscles.
We Can’t Be Different
During the refugee crisis in Kyrgyzstan, Karimova-Tellyaeva led the We Can’t Be Different initiative that brought thousands of people together. This contingent of people was able to support and offer compassion to the refugees fleeing violence who found their way to Uzbekistan. As part of the initiative, four Kamaz lorries of humanitarian aid were donated and dispatched to Uzbekistan refugee camps by residents of Uzbekistan.
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva has used her influence and wealth to impact the lives of children throughout Uzbekistan. She founded two organizations that work together to improve the living conditions in orphanages and provide free care children with disabilities.
Her You Are Not Alone Foundation has been involved in many large-scale projects that assisted in constructing, renovating and refurbishing orphanages. These Mercy Homes are now top-notch facilities that are able to provide a healthy environment for their residents to live, grow and learn. She has a strong belief in the ability of education, sports and culture to promote peace and tolerance. She strives to decrease ignorance and reliance on stereotypes.