This week B.C. & Mordant welcome Selima Salamove, Program Manager from Islamic Relief Russia, and apparently, Islamic Relief’s best kept secret. Raise your hand if you didn’t know Islamic Relief had an office in Russia? (It’s okay, we didn’t either.)
In this episode, Selima shares stories and insight about all the amazing projects being implemented by IR Russia in Chechnya.
The projects range from proving aid to disabled persons, including the hearing impaired, the blind, and those physically disabled in wheelchairs. There is also a big focus on low income households and orphans.
One particular project, funded by IRUSA, empowers youth from orphan households with access to grants for business startups. 2,300 orphans receive quarterly support and school supplies. She shares the story of one woman who feared for her 19 year-old son in a country where most men leave for war. Thanks to Islamic Relief, he received training in mobile repair services and now earns his living working. “She said, ‘Thank you for not only saving his wellbeing, but thank you for saving his life,’” Selina shares. With a major focus on job training, many young men like him will have a brighter future.
Selina also tells stories of the work they are doing to help the disabled. “The most touching stories are when we help those who are most disadvantaged,” she says. “For example, we provide free services for wheelchair repairs because according to the legislation, the disabled are only allowed to get wheelchairs once in five years.” She shares the story of one man who told her, “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to leave these four walls.” Thanks to Islamic Relief providing sports programs for the disabled, he was able to lose 30 kilos and is now very active. Before, he was confined to him room. Similar projects provide training to the blind, including reading and writing in braille and IT skills.
“Just try for one hour or two hours to be blind,” she challenges listeners. “By giving them a way to access the outer world, just showing them that we care about them, it’s great for them. They are thankful. These things are like a wonder. You see destitute people without any hope, without any desires. And you see their attitudes changing. Their self-esteem raised. They’re becoming more sociable, they’re communicating with their peers.”
Tune in to this inspiring episode to hear more from Selima, including a powerful reminder about privilege.
“What did I do in my life that I have my legs,” she asks, “that I have my hands, that I have my eyes, that I have my ears? What did I do to have all this? Why do I have this wonderful job, my apartment that is warm? This is the privilege we have. Seeing everyday the people who don’t have many things that we have, you realize how much you have in your life.”
And for the privileged, she reminds listeners that giving will never decrease what they have.
“Whenever I give sadaqah, no matter from where, money comes to me. It’s like a circle. When you give something, something comes back to you.”
LISTEN. SHARE. REPEAT.