The U.S. Department of State has named Nargis Ziyavatdinova, an Uzbekistani alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), as State Alumni Member of the Month for May 2010. Ziyavatdinova was selected in recognition of her work as founder and director of Imkon, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes awareness and inspires volunteerism on behalf of disabled children in Uzbekistan. She has significantly increased the public’s knowledge of disabilities and community service.
Ziyavatdinova’s 2002 IVLP, which examined women and NGO development, had a major impact on her perception of both society and government’s role in engaging disabled people. She witnessed disabled people in the United States who had access to education and a good healthcare system, which allowed them to become an integral part of society. Returning to Uzbekistan, Ziyavatdinova renamed her NGO as Imkon (“Hope” in the Uzbek language) and added an educational center to meet the needs of Uzbek children with disabilities.
Over the past five years, the educational center has educated and integrated several students with disabilities into the local public school system. As these children have matured, some have started working in regional civic organizations to help their peers with disabilities.
Ziyavatdinova strives to dismantle misconceptions that prevent disabled people from becoming full members of society. Her persistent efforts in elementary education, government lobbying, and civic engagement have ensured that international organizations, local communities, and Uzbekistan’s Government are supportive of Ziyavatdinova’s ideas on inclusive education.
Throughout May, Nargis Ziyavatdinova’s leadership and promotion of community service will be recognized on the State Alumni website, https://alumni.state.gov, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ official website for the more than one million alumni who have participated in a Department-sponsored exchange program. Each month, the Bureau’s Office of Alumni Affairs, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the award on an outstanding alumnus or alumna. For more information, visit http://exchanges.state.gov/alumni/alumnus.html.
Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, StearnsCL@state.gov or phone (202) 632-6437
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