Widow Case Studies

    Padam Shabasova

    Padam lost her son and husband in the second Chechen war between 1999-2000. She was left to look after her granddaughter, who is ill and needs regular medical attention, and her unemployed daughter.

    Padam was greatly affected by the loss of her son and suffered from stress and depression in the months after his killing.

    Padam realised that she had to keep busy. Alhamdulillah through UWT’s income generation programme for widows in Chechnya, she was enrolled in a bee-keeping project.

    It was hoped that the income received from selling honey would bring stability to her fractured family. Padam chose bee-keeping because it would allow her to be closer to nature. She was also keen to learn about how honey could treat various ailments.

    Five beehives were acquired to begin the project, which started at the beginning of the honey making season. Padam currently lives in an old house but she has a small garden where her beehives are set up. This small business also keep Padam’s daughter busy.

    Padam is grateful to all those who have helped her start a new life and wishes them every success.

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    Zalpa Gelagaeva

    Zalpa Gelagaeva, a widow, lives in an abandoned train wagon and is raising three small children by herself.

    Following the death of her husband, Zalpa had nowhere to live. Her brother, who also did not have much, put a disused train wagon on his small plot of land for her and the children to live in. The family has lived like this for years and has received no help from the authorities.

    When UWT conducted assessments for orphaned children, Zalpa’s family was discovered by chance.

    Zalpa decided that raising cattle would be the best option for her whilst living on her brother’s land.

    Her cows now produce milk, which Zalpa turns into cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and milk. She can now feed her children regularly and with the earnings generated from selling the excess produce she can buy other food items such as meat for her children.

    Alhamdulillah, Zalpa’s children also enjoy tending to the cattle and helping their mother sell the produce in the local market.

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    Zina Shakaeva

    Zina Shakaeva is a widow. Her story started when her son, the father of two young girls, was killed in an explosion. The mother, unable to cope with the stress, walked out and was not seen again. Worse still, Zina’s own husband, who was mentally ill, died some time later.

    For many months, Zina, with no family and no income, had to fend for her own children and her two grandchildren.

    Upon learning about her plight, UWT sponsored the two grandchildren. It was with this sponsorship money that Zina was able to buy a new pair of shoes for each of her grandchildren for the first time.

    UWT also helped Zina to set up a small kiosk in the neighbourhood. She was provided with a fridge, freezer and washing products. A gas stove was also purchased so she could bake bread, Alhamdulillah, Zina can now run her own business with the help of her children. Insha-Allah with the income generated she can now give her granddaughters an education.

    Upon receiving help, Zina cried and prayed to Allah for the wellbeing of her helpers and to assist them in relieving the suffering of people like herself.

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    Malkan Khuchieva

    Malkan was married and had one child. Her home was destroyed in the first Chechen War between 1994 and 1996. After that she and her family moved from place to place to avoid the fighting.

    During the second war, Malkan’s husband was murdered. His head was cut off and thrown into the home where Malkan and her child were staying. Malkan, who at that time was expecting her second child, almost lost her mind.

    She could no longer stay in the village and left to live in the town of Mesker Yurt near her mother. But living on a widow’s pension was difficult. She had no money for her son’s school uniform or books. The school administration often threatened her son with expulsion as a result.

    One day she found out about the work of UWT and approached fieldworkers to inform them of her plight. After initial assessments, Malkan’s children were enrolled in the orphan sponsorship programme.

    She also asked whether she could be given the opportunity to start her own business so she would not have to rely on handouts. UWT responded and provided Malkan with a greenhouse. Here she could grow vegetables and sell them in the town’s market.

    Alhamdulillah, with the earnings of one season’s produce, she made enough money to purchase her own plot of land. With more land, she could grow more and therefore sell more.

    With this income, Malkan hopes to build a new home in the near future.

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