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Fast facts

1.3 million

Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Girls Can: Raising a girl in love and encouragement pays off

Print version
11 October 2017


Nilufar Kuchimova enrolled to Westminster University in Tashkent at the age of 16, graduated at 20. At 23, she is a Master’s student at Harvard Law School.

Receiving support fr om mother – providing support to daughter

I always believed that I am an equal and just as capable of everything, just as any boy. We are a family of 3 siblings, and all of us are girls, and all of us had immense support and encouragement fr om parents since a young age to follow all our dreams, be persistent in chasing those dreams, and to always aim high. I am a mother of a three-year-old daughter, and with my husband I aspire to be just as supportive and encouraging of her now and in the future. Our parents are with us too.

The mindset of seeing girls at a disadvantage as compared to boys should, and already is, changing in Uzbekistan. I am happy to see that in my generation and society, such prejudices are slowly fading away.

Making family decisions together

In my maiden home, our parents always made major decisions together, just like in most, if not all families. However, decisions that concerned their children, they always consulted, or at the very least, made us aware of them. Choices concerning our future, studies, hobbies, and even life partners, we were encouraged by parents to make those choices ourselves and to take responsibility for those actions and decisions. They tried to instill in us the value of thinking independently. That being said, me or my sisters never made any decisions, and even now, do not take any decisions without our parents’ advice or approval.

Currently, my husband and I make major and minor life decisions together. We value each other’s thoughts and opinions on every aspect of our lives very highly. Once you are married and start a family, all choices that you can make will directly or indirectly affect the rest of the family. So my husband and I consult with one another on literally everything. We respect and encourage each other’s choices, goals, and dreams and that’s why we are very supportive of one another. One of the main reasons that I am now studying at Harvard is due to the endless support of my husband, and his constant emotional encouragement. As banal as it sounds, there are moments in our lives wh ere he believes in me more than I believe in myself, and vice versa.

Thanks to my parents for instilling in me a love to learn

I was very blessed and had a very happy and fulfilling childhood. Because my parents did not have the same opportunities as us while they were growing up, they made everything possible for us to study and to study well at that. I think the best thing they did in terms of our education, is not only to provide us with high quality education, but also they evoked a love for learning within us. So growing up, we were not only studying and learning, but also immensely enjoying the whole learning process.

The world needs you


My message to other girls, particularly in my home country, is to believe in themselves, even if the rest of the world doubts them. Only we know what we are capable of, and wh ere our strength lies, and we should use that to a good purpose and remain determined in our hopes and dreams. I know that some people are more blessed with opportunities than others, but that should not distract us, instead it should make us work and try even harder, even if it requires more effort. Because whether we are a boy or a girl, our potential is limitless. On this note, I would like to end with a quote that always inspires me and hope it will inspire others too - “The day you were born is the day God decided, the world could no longer exist without you.” 

Author: Nilufar Kuchimova

Author: UNICEF

Views: 1995

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

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