Timur Tillyaev and his wife, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva make a formidable team. Apart from their respective business interests, the couple manage to find the time to pursue numerous non-commercial projects. Central to these is their philanthropic organization, You Are Not Alone.
Begun in 2002, Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova founded You Are Not Alone on the idea of helping Uzbekistan’s most needy kids find a path to autonomy. Together they sponsor numerous initiatives which provide health and educational opportunities.
You Are Not Alone has assisted in a range of capacities including; upgrading orphanages across the country, refitting institutions such as the State Perinatal Centre in Tashkent and teaming up with French NGO, Association La Chaîne de l’Espoir (Chain of Hope). In terms of education, Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva have seen to it that hundreds of children gain access to primary and secondary schooling. They’ve also funded gifted students all the way through university. ().
Even as a boy, Timur Tillyaev has always been fascinated by the remarkable story of Ulugh Beg. A national hero in Uzbekistan, Ulugh Beg is almost unknown to the international community - Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva decided to do something about.
A grandson of Tamerlane, Ulugh Beg was a ruling prince whilst still in his teens.
Taking advantage of a period of relative peace, he encouraged leading minds from Persia, China and beyond to his lands. He founded one of the earliest universities and promoted learning and scientific discovery. As if this were not enough, Ulugh Beg was a towering intellect in his own right and made great contributions in the fields of astronomy and mathematics. A colossal sextant he had built, perhaps the largest astronomical instrument ever seen until modern times, still survives to this day. As Lola Karimova explains, “a man who in the 15th century turned Samarkand into the epicenter of the world’s most advanced studies in astronomy – I thought that his extraordinary story should be told to the world” The documentary has been widely applauded by both critics and moviegoers alike.
Beyond film-making, Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva have also teamed up to produce a book to celebrate Uzbekistan’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Called, Uzbekistan: An Experience of Cultural Treasures to Colour, it’s been a great success. At 144-pages and beautifully bound, this hardback work goes way beyond your standard adult’s coloring book. Filled with sumptuous illustrations, it spans 2,000-years of Uzbek history and is organized by theme; architecture, murals, carvings and textiles. Opposite each image is a detailed line sketch of the same - a blank canvas for readers to color as the spirit moves them.
Online reviews of the book reflect its broad appeal. One parent remarked how it stimulated discussion with “a four-year old about the importance of the preservation of art and artefacts and learning about other cultures…” (). In this way, Timur Tillyaev and Lola’s book transcends the subject and engenders a wider interest in art for its own sake.