Empowering People Through Planting

Empowering People Through Planting

Reviving Traditional Farming Culture

“There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.” (Bukhari)

In Chechnya, visually impaired individuals are rediscovering the joys of traditional farming and using their land as a means of livelihood. Through the Life Opportunities for the Blind in Chechnya program, Islamic Relief is providing these individuals with the necessary tools, equipment, and seeds to plant trees, grow fruit, and create a lasting legacy for their families.

More than 3,000 visually impaired people reside in Chechnya, and this project aims to promote their social and psychological well-being. The initial phase of the program focused on healthy living and independence through sports and education. Now, the project encourages food security and self-sufficiency. Since its inception earlier this month, over 900 fruit trees have been planted in various parts of Chechnya.

The Power of Independence

By utilizing their own gardens to independently grow trees, visually impaired Chechens can actively participate in their communities, enjoy the fruits of their labor for years to come, and boost their self-esteem. To expand the reach and impact of the project, those living in cities have been provided with horticultural land plots for gardening. The Islamic Relief team has also employed experts to offer advice and guidance on cultivating and maintaining fruit trees, as well as supplied pesticides to ensure thriving gardens.

Throughout Chechnya, orchards filled with apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, and cherries stand as a testament to the self-sufficiency of visually impaired individuals.

Daud’s Story

Empowering People Through Planting

Daud Usuphajiev, a 49-year-old participant in the project, had his life changed forever when he accidentally stepped on a landmine. Initially feeling lost and without hope, Daud found solace in his family. Despite his own challenges, he pursued a degree in Psychology at Chechen State University and focused his thesis on the psychology of blind people. It was during this time that he realized the importance of overcoming difficulties by helping others in similar situations. Daud now teaches blind children how to read the Holy Qur’an using Braille.

Speaking about the project, Daud said, “I have five children – four girls and one boy. We planted trees for each of their favorite fruits: quince, cherry, apple, plum, and apricot. We showed the children their trees and explained that they had to care for them every day. Planting trees with my children and knowing that these trees will bear fruit for my family brings me great happiness.”

Rassul’s Journey

Empowering People Through Planting

Childhood is a time of innocence, joy, and laughter. At the tender age of three, Rassul lost his sight. Despite this, Rassul never let darkness overpower him. He learned Braille to read the Holy Qur’an and, within a year, mastered Arabic as well. With over fifty surahs memorized and regularly reciting the adhan at his local mosque, Rassul continues to live a full and happy life.

Speaking of the project, Rassul said, “I really enjoyed planting the tree as I have never done anything like this before. They explained the process to me, telling me that first leaves and blossoms will appear on the tree and, in two to three years’ time, fruit will grow, which I will give to my friends and neighbors as sadaqah (charity). Meanwhile, my parents and I will water and nurture the tree so that it can grow along with me.”

Empowering Communities, Building Legacies

Islamic Relief has been active in the North Caucasus region since 1995. Through projects like the Life Opportunities for the Blind in Chechnya program, individuals with visual impairments are given the tools and opportunities to lead fulfilling lives, contribute to their communities, and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

To learn more about empowering individuals through planting, visit Tips Tree Planting. Together, we can make a difference and create a greener, more sustainable world.