Uzbekistan has a population of 35 million citizens with nearly 17% of the population living below the national poverty line. Corruption and gender-based violence run rampant in the country with a lack of freedom of expression. Here are five charities in Uzbekistan that are actively guiding the country towards a better future.
5 Charities Operating in Uzbekistan
- The Rory Peck Trust – The Rory Peck Trust is an NGO dedicated to aiding freelance journalists and their families during challenging times across the globe. It was established two years after the death of Rory Peck, a brave freelance cameraman who died in a crossfire in Moscow. Peck was reporting Russia’s October coup during the Russian constitutional crises in 1993. The organization aims to elevate the visibility of journalists, safeguard their well-being and security and defend their freedom to report without constraints. One of the most innovative charities in Uzbekistan, they provide psychological support, monetary aid and safety training for journalists. The trust has supported more than 100 journalists reporting in Ukraine during the last 12 months of the Ukraine war. In 2019, at the Human Rights House Tbilisi in Georgia, the Trust partnered with the Justice for Journalists Foundation to provide safety training to Russian-speaking media professionals from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Belarus and Armenia. They also host the prestigious Rory Peck Awards annually, a celebration that honors the bravery and accomplishments of freelance journalists and filmmakers across the world.
- The Smile Train – The Smile Train empowers local medical professionals across the world by equipping them with the skills necessary to provide life-changing cleft care and free surgeries to patients who might otherwise not have access to such services. Out of all the charities in Uzbekistan, the Smile Train is the biggest cleft-focused NGO. The organization is dedicated to ensuring that children in need receive the best possible treatment for their condition. They have completed more than 4,000 surgeries in Uzbekistan.
- Anti-Slavery International – Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest international human rights organization. It was founded in 1839 by Thomas Clarkson, Thomas Fowell Buxton and several other abolitionists. It is not only one of the most important charities in Uzbekistan but the entire world. The organization supports the fundamental human right of freedom for everyone. Around 50 million people suffer from modern slavery around the world today. For 15 years, Anti-Slavery International, the Cotton Campaign, the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights and several other NGOs have been advocating with the United Nations and the International Labor Organization to stop forced and child labor in Uzbekistan. In 2021, the organization made a historic achievement by eliminating state-imposed forced labor in the Uzbek cotton harvest in the country. Uzbekistan has unlocked the potential to export cotton textiles to countries around the world. However, wider labor risks remain in the country. International companies need to be ethical and stop exploitation of Uzbekistan’s cotton textiles.
- Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – Médecins Sans Frontières is French for ‘Doctors Without Borders.’ It is a renowned international medical humanitarian organization committed to delivering high-quality medical care to individuals facing crises, regardless of their race, religion or political beliefs. Over 1 million patients are admitted to MSF clinics across the globe. MSF was established in France by a group of journalists and doctors during the beginning of the war and famine in the temporary state of Biafra in Nigeria in 1971. They extend their assistance to people affected by war, disease, natural and human-made disasters and those marginalized from access to health care in over 70 countries. In Uzbekistan, MSF primarily focuses on addressing the challenges posed by multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) patients. They introduced directly observed treatment (DOT) to combat the issue. This is an innovative approach that was invented using video links during lockdowns. Through this method, TB patients receive their treatment at home, with the guidance and supervision of a nurse virtually. By leveraging technology, MSF aims to ensure the continuity of TB treatment even during challenging circumstances.
- SOS Children’s Villages – SOS Children’s Villages is a prominent international NGO dedicated to providing essential support to children without parental care and families facing the risk of separation. One of the major charities in Uzbekistan, they provide support to vulnerable families and children during crisis situations, offer educational aid to teachers and children in the region and create loving and nurturing homes for children who have lost parental care. So far, they have brought up more than 170 children in the cities of Tashkent, Samarkand and Urgench. The organization was founded by six individuals: Hermann Gmeiner, Maria Hofer, Josef Jestl, Ludwig Kögel, Herbert Pfanner and Hedwig Weingartner in 1949 in Austria. Thousands of children had lost their families because of the Second World War. In the past 70 years, they have supported around 4 million young people with programs that are flexible and can be suited to different races, cultures and religions. The organization has roots in the capital of Tashkent in 2000. They are currently supporting around 150 adolescents in the city.
These charities in Uzbekistan endeavor to create a positive impact on the lives of the Uzbek people as well as international journalists and reporters.
– Sharvi Rana