SOS Children's Village Tashkent Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, has about two million inhabitants and is situated in the east of the country on the border to Kazakhstan. The name "Tashkent" means "stone city" and the history of the city dates as far back as the third century. It is known to be one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Central Asia. For centuries, Tashkent was an important stop on the "Silk Road", a trade route from Asia into Europe. The SOS Children's Village Tashkent was built on a four hectares plot of land close to the city centre, donated by the Uzbek government. The land is very fertile and is perfect for growing flowers and laying out kitchen gardens; formerly, it has been used as a vineyard. The local infrastructure is good and schools, hospitals and shops are easily accessible. A middle class residential area forms the direct neighbourhood of the SOS Children's Village. The official opening ceremony was held on 26 June 2001 in presence of Helmut Kutin, president, and Richard Pichler, secretary general of SOS-Kinderdorf International as well as numerous guests of honour. SOS Children's Village Tashkent comprises fourteen family houses, houses for the village director and the SOS aunts (who support the SOS mothers and take care of the children when the mothers are on leave), a multipurpose hall, a workshop, a small sports- and playground and an administration and service area. Up to 91 children can find a new home in the fourteen family houses of SOS Children's Village Tashkent, where their SOS mothers take lovingly care of them. The family strengthening programme offers access to essential services for children’s development (eg. educational, nutritional and health support, social skills) and supports families to protect and care for their children. The programme also aims at linking families with income generating activities and offers help to improve the parents’ parenting skills.