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Rano Yuldasheva: “Every girl is beautiful. Every girl deserves family care”.
Rano Yuldasheva is the director of a specialized educational college for girls with difficult behavior in the town of Kokand, Uzbekistan. She has worked there for over a decade and is fully dedicated to helping with the education and upbringing of the girls. We asked her three questions about challenges and future steps in the field of child care.
What are the main reasons girls are placed in this specialized educational college?
This college accommodates more than 200 girls from across Uzbekistan. The main reasons they are placed here are due to negative family environment and the absence of care. Due of strained family relations, girls often leave home and do not atttend school.
Another reason is the difficult life situation of families. Some parents are migrant workers and leave for Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan and other countries. As a result, their kids stay with grandparents or other relatives who very often cannot manage relations with children and cannot take care of them. Children miss their parents, sometimes miss school, meet strangers and make friends on the street. Some of them also come into conflict with the law.
How could these cases be prevented?
Parents do not allocate enough time to take care of their children. They are busy earning money and children are left behind. Even in the most difficult life situations, children should stay with their parents. Their love and care as well as proper social services could prevent major problems.
Since we are talking about the girls, I want to underline that the best friend for a girl is her mother. The mother is a role model for any girl. Now there are so many opportunities for girls in education, learning music, doing sports, etc. We can prevent difficult behaviors by spending quality time together and speaking with them.
If parents do not care for their children, community based organizations should pay attention and support these families. Those organizations could provide support and prevent violence, abuse and neglect if they are aware of the family situation. Local women’s committees could also play a very important role in protecting children, especially girls.
Another challenge is that makhalla activists and officials need to be trained on how to properly speak to both parents and children. They need special skills on how to deal with family problems, monitor the situation effectively and act accordingly.
What is a key challenge in working at the closed institution?
When girls come to our college, it is only us who should find a way into their hearts.
We do not have a possibility to send our teachers for special courses on capacity building. Therefore on the job training should be conducted here in the college campus. I would like to invite professional trainers who can understand the situation, consider challenges and provide practical recommendations on a regular basis.
We face difficulties especially in the first six months while the girls are here. They miss their families, try to escape and avoid any contact with us. We do our best and finally manage to build good relations with them, but special trainings to gain knowledge and professional skills would be a great help for teachers and practitioners.
Our teachers are very professional in their subject areas but they are not social workers. They face challenges in communicating with the students. Sometimes they come to me and say that despite all efforts, there is a lack of interpersonal communication and understanding. I can put myself in their shoes. It is not easy. That is why I would be happy to organize theoretical and practical sessions to build their capacity.
We are currently implementing a project on the assessment of each girls’ situation, development and implementation of individual plans on rehabilitation and reintegration of girls to their families and society. The action plan includes other activities too which will help towards the rehabilitation of girls. Recently, the Women’s Committee together with UNICEF conducted a photo session as a form of therapy for the girl. Psychologists will use the portraits of girls as a tool for provision of psychological counselling to children. It is also planned to organize a photo exhibition at the college.
Over 200 girls had their portraits taken. I was very happy to see how the girls received this activity. These girls need confidence and attention, they all need a loving and caring family environment.
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