Eighteen years of Islamic Relief in Chechnya

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In 2013, Islamic Relief marks our 18th year working in the Russian Federation of Chechnya. In the coming weeks and months we will be launching three projects aimed at supporting vulnerable Chechens.

We will be providing assistance to the Chechnya’s only producer of artificial limbs, rehabilitating 30 vocational centres for young people and helping at least 100 deaf people to read and write.

Artificial limbs

Chechnya experienced over a decade of war, which started in 1994. One type of weaponry used was mines. Today it is estimated that 15% of those mines are still unexploded and there are around 2,400 people who are living with injuries from mine explosions; over 700 of them are children.

Working with Grozny Prosthetic-Orthopedic Laboratory, Islamic Relief will be providing 32 pairs of artificial limbs as well as 100 pairs of orthopaedic footwear for children. We will also provide a generator and transformer so that the laboratory can work uninterrupted. In total, the centre provides support and artificial limbs to 2,500 people, including 700 children.

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the Chechen Republic, there are 149,000 disabled people in the Chechnya and 53,000 of them are children.

Many young people affected by mines and unexploded ordnance miss out on school, and often cannot afford rehabilitative care.

Vocational education

Before the war, vocational subjects were mandatory for children between the ages of ten and 17. But when 460 schools were damaged in the war, efforts were concentrated elsewhere and students no longer focused on practical courses.

Islamic Relief will be helping to develop the employability of young students by equipping 30 vocational classrooms with the tools and safety gear to teach carpentry and sewing, benefitting 12,000 children. These are skills that are sought-after and typical of the vocational training that children would have received before the war. This will drastically improve employability.

In the past, we have reconstructed three schools, and equipped vocational units attended by 1,700 children.

We will be rehabilitating most of these 30 units in vulnerable communities where many residents were forced to flee violence and later returned.

11-year-old Magomed Hunarikov studied carpentry in the vocational units we rehabilitated in the past. He said, “I like our vocational training very much. We made [blackboard] pointers for our teachers, mops for our cleaners, benches and hammers for our school. I am so excited; our teacher told us that we will make wooden helicopters during our next lesson.”

Learning to read and write

Around 2,500 people in Chechnya are registered as deaf; 450 of whom are members of the Chechen Union of the Deaf (CUD). Without specialized schooling, education can be difficult for young deaf people. In partnership with the CUD and Chechen Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Islamic Relief will be assisting at least 100 people with hearing disabilities to read and write in Russian, as well as in Arabic, as CUD expressed an interest in offering this.

Islamic Relief will set up a development centre in the reception office at CUD. The centre will be equipped with the facilities and materials to provide training specifically for deaf people in Cyrillic and Arabic scripts. A syllabus will be developed, and a curriculum introduced to evaluate the progress.

Thank you for your continued support in our projects. We hope that all war-torn countries will find peace so that they can begin to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.