Ramadan food distribution in Chechnya

    The war in Chechnya officially ended in May 2000 but repercussions of war are still much in evidence. Many still face food insecurity, lack of income and hold no hope of finding a sustainable livelihood. The official figures in 2009 show more than 50% of the population are unemployed. Finding regular work is a nightmare. It depends on personal contacts, proximity to cities and even paying bribes to employers. Access to services in rural areas is very limited and often benefits are only provided to those who can pay bribes. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre figures for 2009, at least 50,000 people remained displaced in Chechnya. In the same year the Federal Migration Service in Chechnya stated that at least 8000 people remained in Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) in Grozny. The TACs are overcrowded and lack running water and proper sanitation.

    The war has led to the creation of tens of thousands of female-headed households with orphans due to the death of the male members. The war severely weakened the tradition that would once have supported women and children and protected them from adversity, as well as providing for the family's daily needs. This large number of female-headed households continues to struggle to make ends meet and bring food to their orphaned children, particularly because most of them are not in a position to leave the house in order to find work. These women have to care for children, the elderly and sick or disabled family members.

    Many of the families surveyed to date in the rural regions of Chechnya have not been provided with state benefits or any other humanitarian assistance. The rural population of Chechnya makes up three quarters of the entire republic (704,023 people out of 1,267,740).

    In both rural and urban Chechnya there are many families that are food insecure, some households have to struggle to purchase even bread, the most basic of food supplies.

    The Ramadan Food Distribution project implemented by DOBROTA, a partner of UWT in Chechnya was aimed at assisting 250 families during the holy month through the provision of an emergency food package which will cover the basic nutritional needs. It was also aimed to provide a useful Eid gift (a school kit including stationery items and a school rucksack) to 130 children.

    With the Ramadan food assistance these families were able to fulfill their basic daily nutritional requirements for the month of Ramadan. Furthermore, the children benefitted with the timely gift in the form of school kits at the beginning of the school year.

    The beneficiaries who received the assistance were surprised and overwhelmed by the assistance, as they had not received any kind of humanitarian assistance from any charity or government for some years. They expressed gratitude and the desire that the assistance be repeated in the future.

    The result of the project is that our support was made in time and to the most needy persons.
    Some beneficiary statements are as following;

    Sister Arsamerzaeva Khizhan gave thanks to people who helped her. She didn’t have enough money to buy food for Ramadan.

    Sister Shakaeva Zina is a guardian of twin sisters. She could not afford to buy clothes for the girls and our support was on time.

    Sister Dagigova Razet was very thankful for the coat that we gave to her son. It is autumn already and she had no money to buy it.

    Sister Usupova Sara – seriously ill, unemployed, has four school children. The family does not have their own dwelling, no basic conditions for living, everybody sleeps on floor. According to her words she went to different governmental and non-governmental establishments asking for support. Only we helped her. She was very thankful.

    Sister Sulimanova Aminat – have no dwelling, she lives in somebody else’s basement, has 5 children, who suffer from dystrophy caused by malnutrition and lack of vitamins. Unemployed while children are small and ill and there’s nobody to look after them except for herself. Our support was in time. The food package and coat for her daughter were accepted with thanks.

    Chechnya Food Chechnya Clothing Distribution
    Food being distributed along with Qurbani meat in Chechnya. A new coat given to Chechen child.