We continue to share Power of Goodness stories with students in schools and other educational institutions of Chechnya. A new boy, Apti, arrived recently in Grozny from Syria and attends school No. 9 in Grozny. He is Chechen by nationality. His parents left with their children to Syria for work before the fighting began there when Apti was very young. Arriving recently back in Chechnya, Apti speaks neither Russian nor Chechen. He only used Arabic in Syria. This creates many problems in communication between him and his teachers and the other children, making it very hard for him to adapt to life in his country of origin.
Apti, at a young age, saw all the horrors of the war in Syria. His parents had already witnessed the devastation and cruelty of war in Chechnya. They grew up in Grozny in the 1990s when the city was decimated by Russian bombs and artillery. The family returned to the relative peace of contemporary Chechnya, but where armed skirmishes still break out regularly, making it hard to recover from the traumas of the past.
A classroom teacher, who had taken our training for teachers, joined the Power of Goodness team with the aim of encouraging Apti to engage and communicate with his classmates and bring the class together. Apti was pleasantly surprised when the Power of Goodness events included simple activities to get to know each other and play, and Rustam spoke with him in English. All the children took turns reading a paragraph from the story “Jelly Beans.” When Apti’s turn came, he sadly said he could not read. Then Rustam invited him to read the paragraph in English, which he did with delight.