When his wheelchair broke, Ruslan Orzaey struggled to leave his home.

The 55-year-old did not have the money to fix his wheelchair, and there was nowhere nearby where he or his family could take the chair for repairs.

Ruslan Orzaev, 55, from Grozny

Ruslan Orzaev, 55, from Grozny

He felt like his home was a prison, and began to feel dejected.

Islamic Relief’s free repair workshop in Chechnya has made a huge difference to Ruslan’s life. Any repairs needed have been made, and the Grozny resident is now able to freely move around his community and enjoy life once more.

“When my wheelchair broke, I had to spend much [of my] time in the house. My room became a prison for me. I was depressed,” he said. “I go out to breathe fresh air, communicate with neighbours, and see people passing by my house. Now I feel comfortable.”

Changing perceptions

Our scheme, which also sees two people employed in the repair workshop, has been designed to increase the mobility of those living in Chechnya, and so help them access work and health services.

The scheme is also designed to encourage awareness of disability across the region so the needs of people with disabilities are given greater priority in the future.

Accessing help

Ruslan’s story is one of many.

Timer-Ali Alarkhanov, 57, from Grozny

Timer-Ali Alarkhanov, 57, from Grozny

Timer-Ali Alarkhanov, 57, also lives in Grozny. His left leg was amputated in 2010 because of a blood clot, and he now relies on his wheelchair.

“It broke often and there was nowhere in the republic to repair it. I couldn’t get out of the republic to have it repaired.

“Those who had money bought new wheelchairs; those who didn’t sat at home without the possibility of buying a new wheelchair or repairing the old one. I belonged to the latter group. It was really a big problem for me and many people like me.

“Then I heard about a workshop for disabled people, where I could repair my wheelchair free of charge. I didn’t believe it. I came to the workshop and the staff working there replaced the broken wheels, fixed armrests and repaired the back of my wheelchair.

“I was touched by the friendly approach and care of the workers and was pleasantly surprised that those people who work in the workshop were also disabled. To my mind, nobody could understand disabled people better than [other] disabled people.”

We believe people with disabilities should be able to live a full and dignified life. Other projects to support people with disabilities include distributing mobility aids in Yemen, and helping disabled children in Jordan to develop their self-esteem.