Mrs. Roza Muzajeva, "longest-serving" Berkat colleague in Chechnya, to visit the Czech Republic between 21st and 28th June

 

roza065.jpg
She was apparently one of the first women to return to the city after the worst bombardment of Grozny to find out what was left of her home. She managed to get home in February 2000, to her half-demolished house full of rubbish (this place by the river was possibly used by a group of Russian soldiers as a temporary base), to find the words "Death to the Czechs" on the wall. (The difference between Chechens and Czechs would appear to escape certain less educated minds in Russia and Europe alike, but this particular piece of graffiti is quite remarkable given the circumstances of the time and what was to follow to this day...)

To all intents and purposes we have been working with Roza since March 2000. It was at that time that Czech journalist Petra Procházková decided to remain in Grozny, leaving journalism to devote herself to helping children and the remnants of families that remained in the ruins of the city after the bombing. The meeting of these two women was quite a significant event: Petra offered Roza work if she could put together a list of the people in need of humanitarian aid. So Roza began to put the list together, often at great risk to her own person, and it is from then that we date the history of our work together, work that Roza continues to this day, albeit in gradually changing circumstances. It is thanks to her work that she is known as Mother Theresa by a group of people that were not able to flee from the war and who thus became witnesses to wartime sorrows.  

Today Roza is director of the local organisation known as Semya, which we helped her and her colleagues set up in 2005. The society of these women is the standard-bearer of all activities progressively created since 2001, when Berkat was founded in the Czech Republic with the aim of creating the background for the programmes that Roza has gradually helped bring to life and develop:- the Friend-to-Friend Aid to Families in Grozny programme, a joint programme with the "Člověk v tísni" organisation (the Iman Women's Centre) and the Doezal Community Centre programme, which helps (mostly, but not exclusively) young women from the families most destroyed by the war learn to care for their livelihoods and health and their nearest and dearest through a programme of education, self-help, consultation and charity. Roza was responsible for the birth of the local organisation known as Semya, which was established in December 2005 with the help of Berkat and a grant from the Czech Ministry of the Interior. She is now the official director, but continues in her social work in the field, even then finding time to take courses in Home Economics that teach the skills needed to run a household. Young girls growing up without one or both parents are basically prepared for marriage, something that might appear funny to us, but something that is greatly valued and sought-after in the Chechnya of today.  The Doezal Community Centre runs other courses for young people as well, and for free, something that is absolutely unique in Chechnya; computer courses, English lessons, hygiene and first aid, personal aesthetics and sewing courses; and has its own sewing workshop that also provides dressmaking to order.

Roza and her husband Zaindi have three children and six grandchildren. The youngest daughter, Milana, is currently single and would like to become a psychologist. Zaindi, meanwhile, works for our project as a driver. They have a garden and a bull, which was orphaned last year - mother Majka (which we bought for the family thanks to contributions from former Minister of Foreign Affairs Schwarzenberg and journalist Petruška Šustrová) and sister Češka disappeared in the way things in Chechnya sometimes do ...     

Roza has recently been suffering from relatively serious health problems that have resulted from all the stress accumulated over the decades. When talk turns to this, she simply smiles. I know of no person as hand-working, responsible and strong-willed as Roza. Yet she is completely open, mentally balanced and without any need to judge others.

I have learned that you can only actually help in those places where you find someone that is able to work with her. Roza's help in receiving and handing out is priceless - without her we would never have been able to work successfully together in Chechnya for so long. 

Her visit to the Czech Republic offers you the chance to meet her and talk to her, but also to contribute something to help Roza and our other friends effectively help where it is most needed and where it is genuinely worthwhile.

Collections to which you can contribute and help support the effectiveness and continuity of our own and Roza's work:

 

The cows for Family  

The Eva Practical Family Institute (PRIE)   

Friend-to-Friend Aid to Families 

Recuperative holiday for children by the Caspian Sea   

  

You will find the account numbers for individual collections at http://www.cecna.cz/.