Tashkent is Uzbekistan's capital and home to around 2.3 million people. Located in the country's east near the border with Kazakhstan, it is the nation's primary cultural and economic hub.
Since the economic downturn, Tashkent has seen a dramatic rise in population, and consequently, housing and public services are struggling to cope.
Tough conditions for children in poverty
As people move from rural Uzbekistan to the urban areas in the wake of the economic crisis, the increase in population has left resources overstretched and jobs oversubscribed. Consequently, many people end up in low-paid employment in poor conditions. Not only is there not enough housing to go around, it is estimated that nearly half of existing stock needs renovating.
Children from backgrounds such as these are at the highest risk of losing parental care. To cope with the problems they face, some parents turn to drugs and alcohol. Children from such households are raised in extremely tough conditions; often missing out on key educational opportunities and growing up with parents unable to take proper care of them. Many are taken away from their parents and end up in state-run institutions with are unable to provide the level of nurturing individual support necessary for a happy, healthy childhood.
What are we doing to help?
We ensure the area's most vulnerable children are able to grow up in a nurturing family environment. We help struggling families grow stronger by providing education and healthcare for their children and opening up welfare opportunities by informing them about their entitlement to housing and other state benefits.
We also offer teacher training in the community and in local schools to help solve the area's teacher shortage. We supplement this by offering tuition to children when they are struggling, and offer placements at our own SOS nursery.
Despite all our efforts, some children simply cannot live with their own families, whether because they have been orphaned or abandoned, or because of financial pressure. For these children, we provide a loving home with an SOS family. An SOS mother cares for each child as they grow up with their SOS brothers and sisters. Children attend local schools, many of which we are supporting, and attend after-schools clubs and societies with their peers. When they have completed their education, they are invited to join our SOS youth home, where we support them on the transition to independence.
As resources become overstretched and poverty rises, children in Takshent are growing up under increasing strain. By supporting families and providing the best care to children with no one else, we give children a better start in life. You can help today by sponsoring a child in Uzbekistan.