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Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Photo session helps young girls in specialized institution find purpose
More than 200 girls from a specialized educational institution for girls with difficult behaviors in Kokand, Fergana Region have each had their portraits taken as part of a therapy session organized jointly by the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan and UNICEF.
The three-day photo session aims to contribute to the rehabilitation and reintegration of the girls and lead to their improved upbringing and education. A photo exhibition at the college will be organized later this year featuring the portraits of each girl. Each portrait will be accompanied with a short story of each girl, reflecting their experiences, concerns and dreams.
“These girls need confidence and attention and they all need love which they did not get in their families,” says Rano Yuldasheva, director of the specialized institution for girls in Kokand. "All of our girls are beautiful. This became more apparent at the photo session.”
The institution is host to a range of girls from various backgrounds from across the country. Some have left their parents, others were victims of violence, while others ran away from home and lacked access to education.
"We used to live according to a certain regime,” said Anora*, one of the girls in the specialized educational institutions. “That's why these three days became like a feast. I've heard many girls say ‘It turns out I'm beautiful’ after their portraits were taken.”
Further plans include conducting individual assessments on the situation of each girl, providing professional psychological and social support and putting in place individual plans for their reintegration into society. The actions follow the endorsement of an Inter-Agency Plan of Action by the Women’s Committee in collaboration with state agencies, NGOs and UNICEF.
"One of the girls helped me with photo sessions,” said photographer Evgeniy Sorochin. “She was explaining to her peers what to do suggesting the best compositions. I was impressed with her creative vision and ability to see beauty."
Moving forward, Women’s Committee and UNICEF will provide recommendations on improving the situation of girls in closed institutions, strengthening rehabilitation and reintegration processes and increasing the capacity of relevant authorities and professional to work with children in need of protection.
*Name changed for personal reasons