In North Caucasus – composed of Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria – poverty levels are incredibly high. At a rate of 13.5%, around 19.5 million people live below the national poverty line.
In the Republic of Chechnya especially, years of repeated conflict and political instability have devastated the lives of local families. Chechens are now trying to rebuild yet unemployment is extremely high with 80% of people out of work. With a population of one million, many families still don’t have permanent homes as they were lost during the conflict and families cannot afford repairs.
With many Chechens living in governmental Temporary Accommodation Centres, locals lack basic food, medication, water, and sanitation. Winters are harsh and to make matters worse, Chechnya is one of the worst areas in the world, affected by mines, leaving communities in fear of activating landmines buried across the region.
Life can be challenging for many people across the Russian Federation:
- 28% of people in the Russian Federation do not have access to adequate sanitary facilities (World Bank, 2016)
- 50% of Chechens live on less than $1.10 (80 pence) a day (UNICEF, 2017)
- 200,000 people are internally displaced across Chechnya (UNICEF, 2017)
- More than 1 in 5 Chechens are aged between 3 and 17 years (UNICEF, 2017)
Islamic Relief in the Russian Federation
Islamic Relief has been working in the North Caucasus since 1995. Throughout this period, we have delivered both humanitarian relief programmes and development projects. During the Chechnya conflict, we provided food, clean water, shelter and medical care to refugees. We then focussed on long-term development following the end of the conflict including the reconstruction of homes and infrastructure, and provision of livelihoods programmes to female-headed households.
After setting up our Development Centre in Grozny the capital of Chechnya, hundreds of people from remote communities with hearing impairments are now able to access mainstream services. Participants on the project have since also gone on to teach their new skills to hearing-impaired children living in a Grozny boarding school and to women working at a sewing factory for disabled people.
As part of our commitment to improving the lives of local children, we have also supported orphans through our sponsorship programme and worked with the World Food Programme to provide hot meals for children in school, ensuring they are healthy enough to benefit from their education. In addition, we now continue to provide key seasonal relief including Qurbani and Ramadan food aid.