The capital of Uzbekistan's Khorezm region, a harsh climate makes living hard in Urgench. While parents migrate in search of work, children are often left to fend for themselves, sometimes forced to survive subzero temperatures without heating, electricity or even running water.
Employment in the Urgench area has always been based around the agricultural sector. Because of the environment, and its shortage of water, work is highly seasonal. A lack of other employment opportunities forces parents to leave the region in search of jobs elsewhere.
When parents leave, children are often left behind with relatives who simply do not have enough time to care for them. Some are left totally alone, without power or heating in the hovels they inhabit.
Even when their parents at home, children in Urgench are vulnerable. Children brought up by their mothers are often particularly disadvantaged thanks to the unfavourable position women occupy in Uzbek society.
Supporting children in Urgench and beyond
SOS Children has helped fragile families in Urgench since 2010. Local government helps us identify those in special need of care, and we act to provide the support these families need to create the best environment children as they grow up.
Our approach is multi-faceted. We work with families in the community to help them provide the best environment for the children in their care. Alongside local organisation, we work to make sure young people are able to access education and healthcare.
We give free nursery places to young children, and provide older children with key resources such as textbooks. Our educational programme trains new teachers to supply understaffed schools. By working with the local nursery and schools, we are improving the standard of teaching. We also offer children individual tuition if they are struggling at school. Our after-school groups give children somewhere to do their homework.
Children who cannot live with their parents can find a loving home in one of our SOS families. Our SOS Mothers provide a stable and loving environment where children can flourish. Children attend the local nurseries, schools and after-school clubs, helping strengthen ties with the community.
Our work is helping disadvantaged children achieve a better life in a hard environment. Help us continue our vital work in Uzbekistan by taking out a child sponsorship.