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 injury that left Rizvan’s father unable to work. The family had to depend on meager disability assistance and sporadic wages from Rizvan’s older brother’s temporary construction jobs.
In 2008, Rizvan completed a course on business and management organized by International Medical Corps with funding from USAID in cooperation with IREX. The training courses are offered to benefit the livelihoods of Chechnya’s rural poor who have little access to resources including affordable health care. With his newfound business planning, marketing and financial skills, Rizvan wants to establish a cattle breeding business, since there is a high and stable demand for beef in the region. Initially, he plans to buy six calves with funding from an International Medical Corps Microfinancing program. Based on beef sales in the first six months, Rizvan hopes to be able to grow his business by buying even more cattle and to support his family long-term.
Through Small and Medium Sized Business Enterprises and Microfinancing, International Medical Corps has enabled more than 587 start-up businesses benefitting over 3,600 people in the region and helping them become healthier, happier and more self-reliant. Families like Rizvan’s, through support from International Medical Corps, now have the chance to care for themselves and obtain basic needs like health care without government assistance.