Uzbekistan: family and society

Since early years of independence, the protection of the family, motherhood and childhood has been identified as state policy priorities in Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek people see the family as a reliable hearth to bear and bring up a healthy generation, ensure continuity of generations. Noble aspirations and ideas take roots in a family environment. High spirituality comes with mother milk, family upbringing, guidance of ancestors, and a sense of Motherland.

In his books and speeches, the First President of Uzbekistan repeatedly expressed the deep concept that healthy family bears healthy society, makes the state powerful, and the Motherland prosperous. In this context, he certainly implied not so much physical health, as moral and spiritual. In this regard, the creation of a family is seen as a significant event, which goes beyond personal and private sense, but acquires social significance. It is the family that can make a person happy, equally as unhappy. It is the environment where patriotism and love of the Motherland are brought up since childhood, it is where the love for mother, home, mahalla, and school originates...

That is why the problems of the family and upbringing of a harmonious generation have been a matter of great concern in the republic. They are in the spotlight of state programs that have been successfully implemented in recent years, public organizations, and particularly a unique institution of mahalla, or local community, all of which focus on raising the culture of family relations.

The Action Strategy on Priority Development Areas of Uzbekistan for the next five years has become a new impetus to the development of the family institution and its support in our country. It clearly specifies the further support, development and strengthening of the family, enhancement of its role in bringing up the future generation spiritually mature and comprehensively advanced. The document covers such topical areas as raising the level of social assistance to needy strata of the population, strengthening the status of women in public and political life, reformation of the healthcare system, strengthening of the status of local communities, and addressing employment issues.

All this is inextricably linked with the increase in family welfare, and full protection of their interests.

Special attention is paid to the creation of legal foundations for the protection of the family, motherhood and childhood, guaranteeing mother and child rights, and ensuring stability in the families.

The family has been revered as the highest value in our ancient land from time immemorial. The whole philosophy of the East extolled and exalted it. The family ethics, family relations, respect for the mother-woman, which has been built over centuries, has revived in recent years. The philosophy of human care and hospitality has been strengthened.

It is the family atmosphere that enroots such high human qualities as respect for elders and care for the younger, respect for national customs and traditions, conscientiousness and mercy, which are inherent in the Uzbek people. They have entwined with the flesh and blood of the nation and, what is very important, meet the requirements of today.

What a contemporary family is about? The answer to this question is, to some extent, suggested by a recent sociological survey on this topic, conducted by the Public Opinion Study Center ‘Ijtimoiy Fikr’ in the light of the objectives of the Year of Dialogue with the People and of Human Interests.

The key objective of the study was to identify priority trends in the public opinion on family and marriage issues, the upbringing of children, comprehensively advanced generation, and building of the system of social orientations and attitudes of citizens.

It showed that the family plays an important role for the Uzbek people, and preserves its social and moral significance. Family values ​​remain the key pillar for the residents in the light of socio-political and democratic transformations. According to respondents, the family contributes to further strengthening of the country's security and stability, citizens are aware of the extent of its responsibility for the future of their children and society as a whole.

Citizens see the age of the marrying couples as an important factor for the creation of a strong family. The monitoring of polls has shown an increase in the number of citizens who consider 24-25 years for men, and 21-23 years for women as the optimal age for the creation of a family. Many justly believe that young people should get education, a profession, and become mature and economically independent before creating a family.

According to respondents, the readiness of young people for creation of a family is determined by such qualities as moral maturity and responsibility.

Citizens are aware of the need to prepare young people for family life, and see it as a duty of parents. By their personal example, they should demonstrate what a family should be, how the spouses should treat each other, how to treat children in certain circumstances related to marriage and family relations. Parents should pass on their experience and skills on the creation of a strong and well-to-do family.

As noted by the participants of the survey, the natural mechanism of transferring such skills to the family is insufficient at the modern pace of life. In this context, an important part should be undertaken by educational institutions, local communities, and specialized services of legal and psychological assistance.

The majority of respondents support the provisions of the Family Code, according to which young people must undergo a medical examination and inform each other about their health before marriage.

The participants of the survey demonstrated the unity of views on the importance and necessity of parental blessing when entering into marriage. Absolute majority (99.4%), regardless of age, ethnicity, level of material well-being, recognizes that for a young family, the consent of parents is an indispensable condition and a guarantee of family happiness and well-being of the young people entering into marriage.

The majority of respondents noted that they understand their children well and trust them. They disagree with the statement that modern parents and children share different views and attitudes. The study showed a continuity of family values in the families of our compatriots. The views of the older and younger generations coincide on the most significant values.

At the same time, the survey revealed that some parents, for various objective reasons, do not always treat the upbringing of their children with due attention and responsibility. A quarter of survey participants admit that their children miss school classes, explaining that by the lack of motivation to learn or by family situation. Every tenth parent does not concern herself with how his child spends his free time, for what purposes he uses his mobile phone, explaining her position by trust.

The results show the need to take measures and create additional interest clubs at schools, organize sports and other sections, reading rooms and libraries, hold various events in educational institutions that would help to better organize an effective leisure for the younger generation, distracting adolescents from the negative influence of the street, Internet, alien views and judgments.

In Uzbekistan, the mahalla is revered as a hearth of upbringing, which carefully passes national traditions, way of life and thinking on from generation to generation. The further strengthening and enhancement of the role and status of the institution of mahalla in all areas of society has been a matter of special concern under the supervision of the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. These objectives are also defined in the Action Strategy.

The study of the role of mahalla in the life of citizens of Uzbekistan and its impact on the family life ranks among the objectives of the study. When asked on "What is the role of local communities in your life and life of your family?" the survey participants noted that it plays a "big and significant role” in their lives. The monitoring revealed a steady tendency to increase in the number of citizens who consider it a must to agree the way of life of their family, the nature of the relationship between its members with the norms and rules of conduct adopted in their community.

The information suggests a high status of the institution of mahalla in the society, and the significant role of this unique body of citizens’ self-government in the life of each family.

The survey showed that the absolute majority of the population (90.7%) is negative about divorce. Among the main reasons leading to the disintegration of the family, citizens most often refer to the unwillingness of young people for family life, lack of sufficient life experience, inability or unwillingness to compromise, to concede and neutralize conflicts, temporary financial difficulties, and mismatch of interests among spouses.

According to respondents, the mutual love of young people entering into marriage is an important factor that contributes to the creation of a strong, prosperous and harmonious family based on mutual respect, trust and support. People believe that compliance with national traditions, customs and norms of behavior adopted in Uzbekistan, which are passed on from generation to generation, help to build happy and strong families.

The absolute majority of respondents share the view that the current changes in our country contribute to the creation of favorable and harmonious relations in families, strengthening of financial state in young families, and upbringing of the younger generation in the spirit of national and universal values.

A sociological study has proved that there are many happy families in Uzbekistan, as also confirmed by the annual World Happiness Report. It notes that the level of happiness is a measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. The results of the rating are based on the answers of 3,000 respondents in each of 155 countries, who were asked to assess their state on a scale from 0 to 10 points in several categories. In the report, Uzbekistan ranked the highest among the CIS countries, and 47th among 155 countries on the globe.

What does a person need to be happy? The answer is quite simple: a happy, strong family, decent work, comfortable housing.

The Actions Strategy assigns a big part to the social sector to ensure that the lives of compatriots become better and more comfortable. The first fruits of its implementation can be seen by the example of residents of any region of the republic, whose life is now better organized. Social infrastructure has been entering the appropriate level, along with the construction of numerous standard design apartment buildings and housing. People are happy with the changes, they now have more opportunities to get a good job, get a quality education, and improve their living conditions.

There is hardly a greater happiness than having a modern and cozy home. It is a cherished dream of mostly young families. Young couples, walking along the renovated avenues and streets of Karshi with more than a dozen of new apartment buildings, dream of having their own apartment.

It is great that many of them do not have to wait long. This August, they will be able to buy an apartment on favorable terms. Another 315 families will celebrate a housewarming parties in 40 five-storey houses that are currently under construction in the regional center.

Residents in rural areas also hope for the new housing. In accordance with the Presidential Decree ‘On the Program of Construction of Affordable Housing on the Updated Standard Design in Rural Areas for 2017-2021 years, another 32 will be added to the existing housing estates in districts of Kashkadarya region. It is planned to build there 1,500 houses to any taste.

For example, 236 apartments are available in two or three-story apartment buildings. 410 families will own individual single-storey houses with their own two are plots of land. Big families might like four-room two-story houses with four are plots of land. If this is still not enough, there are 417 individual houses with six are plots of land.

Some residents expect for the completion of construction, while the others move into new homes. For example, residents of the Yakka-Yogoch area in the Karshi district were among the first to celebrate housewarming. There are two-story apartment houses and individual houses with land plots.

The construction of 90 service houses for representatives of government agencies and military workers is currently underway in the region on 11 blocks.

Sometimes, families face disagreements and disputes that seem intractable. In such cases, they need an advice of a wise and respected person, a competent specialist.

Citizens’ self-government bodies run reconciliation commissions in order to strengthen families. Community residents may address them for advice in a difficult situation. The authoritative residents as part of commissions help to settle conflicts and provide psychological support.

Enthusiasts of citizens' assemblies have shared their experience and skills at workshops on ‘The role and place of reconciliation commissions in strengthening families’, which have been held these days in all regions and cities of the republic.

In Andijan region, for instance, reconciliation commissions function in all 868 citizens’ assemblies of local communities. In the first quarter of this year, they received more than 5,000 appeals. Members of the commissions managed to achieve a positive resolution in 4,500 cases of family troubles between young spouses, neighbors, parents and children. The rest of the family disputes are considered in court.

At the workshops, workers of citizens' assemblies, experts of the Women's Committee, law enforcement bodies discuss the ways of strengthening interaction in their work with families. In particular, they focus on the functions of reconciliation commissions in the implementation of public control; study the spiritual and moral situation in families. It is seen important to improve the psychological climate in them, as well as establish friendly relations and mutual understanding between neighbors.

In this regard, a certain effect is provided by ‘Councils of Mothers-in-Law’, which are organized under citizens’ assemblies in many communities. Respected women share advice and experience, help young daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law find a common language.

“Today, reconciliation commissions operate in each of 770 citizens’ assemblies of Namangan region,” says the chief specialist of the regional department of the Mahalla Foundation Ms Nazarova. “By common efforts of elders, heads of exemplary families, teachers, doctors, and lawyers, we try to ensure harmony and unity in families. To a large extent, this was facilitated by the recent monthly campaign that was aimed at making their work more effective. During the campaign, we managed to return more than two thousand families to a peaceful life, where unhealthy conditions reigned for various reasons. More than a hundred young couples, who were on the verge of divorce, have reunited. We work regularly with dysfunctional families.”

A similar workshop in Bukhara was opened with a video about the best practices of exemplary reconciliation commissions.

“A strong family is built on mutual respect,” said Ms Asadova, chief specialist of the municipal department of the Mahalla Foundation. “Every family member should know his or her rights and duties. In this case, the family foundation is strong. Much depends on woman’s wisdom. She is the keeper of the family hearth; the prosperity, the upbringing of children, good relations with neighbors and relatives depend on her.”

The number of marriage unions in our country has exceeded seven million. Nearly 300,000 marriages are registered in the republic each year. Uzbekistan ranks among the countries with the lowest rate of divorce. The place and role of the family in public life has been enhancing owing to social protection through the consistent implementation of state programs. Social sector has been streamlined in accordance with the Action Strategy,  which is annually invested by about 12% of the country's GDP.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

 

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