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A trip to Uzbekistan

Our half term trip to Uzbekistan was in response to  a request from the Uzbekistan Embassy in Holland Park, Uzbek education department and the Zamin Foundation, for us to give advice and guidance on developing education in their hospitals, and signing an agreement of understanding for the future.

The Team

Our Geography co-ordinator,  Angela, to help us find our way around this new environment. Our artist in residence, Shaun, as the link with HOPE so that we can work together to help the Uzbek hospital teachers become part of the next congress in May 2025, and start their journey, as we did 35 years ago, linking up and visiting hospital schools, not only in London, but throughout the world. 

Shaun with his convivial nature is also a necessary part of the team and can always be relied upon to paint us out of a corner. This might sounds corny but it was true as we raced around this enormous country, in trains, planes and chauffer driven limousines, eating the most delicious food and being hosted by the extremely helpful and charming company. When the IT stopped working, it was Shaun who held the audience in raptures with his humour and Angela, who declared not to have much experience at giving lectures to large audiences, lifted the young audience out of their shy responses to an excited outburst of questions.  A new role Angela? We already have you down for Dublin in May, thank you both so much and congratulations.

Tashkent was a surprise as despite being a city with a warm climate it was lush and green with so many trees, plus bountiful markets, full of every fruit, fresh and local produce. The magnet was the stalls with traditional earthenware — who could possibly resist the colours and patterns?   Everywhere we went there was warmth, kindness and generosity, Many thanks to the Zamin foundation for inviting us and for ensuring our stay was perfect in every way. 

Following our tour we have been in contact with Jan, the President of HOPE, who is writing to invite the Uzbek teachers to be part of the next congress in Dublin, May 2025.  This will give them an opportunity to meet teachers from hospital education throughout Europe.

The next step was a visit to a special school in Navoi. We watched a truly inspiring concert of dance and music where it was clear the students were enjoying the concert as much as the audience. This experience was incredibly moving, we were all so impressed by the teachers love and enthusiasm.  

We began to ask ourselves why are we here? We have seen such amazing teaching, resources,  expert knowledge and planning, what can we offer that would really help to improve this exceptional service?

The visits to art galleries, with expert guides, was very special, answering some questions about the ‘lost sea’ which was a major theme of the gallery, the artist included a tap hidden in each painting. We are hoping Angela is researching this now as it is so fascinating both geographically and politically.

The Headteacher and Janette signed an agreement to work together to help expand education for children with medical and mental health issues over the next 5 years. Before we left the UK, Janette contacted David Cameron for his views on this commitment and the political situation, as we are so aware the relationship we had with Moscow was a painful issue after the poisoning episode, and now of course even more impossible due to the war with Ukraine. The Foreign Office contacted us and gave their support for this enterprise. Janette has informed all involved that she would no longer be CCHS Principal after September 2024, and has given them her private details, the contact between the Embassy and CCHS was made by Sergey who is  an education ambassador.

Many thanks to all the colleagues we met in Uzbekistan, the Foreign Office, the Zamin Foundation and members of the Uzbekistan Embassy in Holland Park.

Janette, Shaun & Angela

(More to follow, especially our visit to Samarkand)