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The Golden Hour

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A Young Talent Lost at the Hand of a Family Secret

“Is it a crime…to knowingly infect somebody with HIV and refuse them the right to see a doctor?” The question came from a girl at a gender-based violence prevention and psychosocial support training organized by International Medical Corps in Vedeno district in Chechnya with the support of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, …

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War Leaves a Legacy of Pain and Hardship in Chechnya

In response to the Russo-Chechen wars which left approximately 300,000 dead and 750,000 displaced, International Medical Corps began providing services in the North Caucasus in 2000.  Today, with the support of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), we continue to provide primary health care, psychosocial and mental health support to …

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Unable to Return Home, Unable to Stay

Every Wednesday, the narrow corridor of the former nursery school at Ryabinka is filled with people. That is because International Medical Corps social workers and psychologists visit Ryabinka every week to offer support to the 25 families (163 people) living there, thanks to the support of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and …

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Ending a Cycle of Family Poverty for Chechen Youth

Like many young people in rural Chechnya, 17-year-old Rizvan found his family struggling to survive in the resource-poor region battered by years of war and displacement.  Although Rizvan’s father had attempted to raise cattle to support his large family, a landmine left over from the war exploded unexpectedly during a family excursion, causing a leg …

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Ilkhom: A Refugee Story from Kyrgyzstan

During International Medical Corps’ emergency response in the region we met Ilkhom, age 35, a refugee from the Uzbek village of Bazar-Kurgan, Kyrgyzstan.  When he greeted us outside his home his eyes were filled with sadness and despair.  The signs of extreme poverty surrounded him: his house was small and empty of furnishings, his clothes …

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Inaction, Stigma Fuel Chechnya’s TB Outbreak

Maret Maasheva first blamed her shortness of breath on pregnancy. But the symptoms only got worse when her baby was born. Two months later, she collapsed on the floor of her bedroom, gasping for air. “I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling that I was suffocating,” she recalls. “I fell …

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The Story of Razet: Promoting Wellbeing through Microenterprise

This is the story of Razet, a mother of three who lost everything during a 15-year-long war in Chechnya, one of many conflicts in the North Caucasus.  Recently, Razet was able to regain her strength, and start to rebuild her life, with the help of the International Medical Corps and funding from the European Union. …

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Stitching Broken Dreams

Zura Zaurbekova always dreamed of owning her clothing business.  A skilled seamstress, the 48-year-old taught sewing to hopeful designers at a tailoring school in Chechnya.  This was before the war broke out in 1994.  The violent conflict would go on to result in two wars, at least 300,000 dead, and more than 700,000 displaced. Zura’s …

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Kidnapped and Abused, Finding Help to Heal

Diana* lived with her mother, father, and two younger brothers in a small village in Chechnya – until at just 19, she was kidnapped. Her kidnapper was not looking for ransom.  He was looking for a bride. Bride kidnappings in the North Caucasus are more commonplace than one would think.  Diana is one of thousands …

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