Faces of The Fellowship: Chaka | IFCJ
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Faces of The Fellowship: Chaka

Chaka_14605338 (photo: JDC/Arik Shraga)

Eighty-eight year old Chaka lives alone in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and relies on The Fellowship to survive.

Only 11 years old when World War II broke out, Chaka’s life was turned upside down. Her father was drafted into the army, and Chaka and her mother were evacuated to Turkmenistan from Moldova, where they spent four long, arduous years.

The family returned home in 1945. Chaka attended school and then spent many years working as an accountant in the Department for Cultural Affairs. Despite her many years of service, her pension is only $90 per month.

Chaka lives alone in a shabby, ancient wooden house with only old photographs to keep her company. Her backyard was once a beautiful garden, but now lays barren. Remarkably, although Chaka's home and health are both deteriorating, her powerful personality is not.

Because of her age and her various physical conditions – Chaka suffers from hypertension, arthritis, and heart problems – she is unable to leave her house.

Thankfully, she can rely on The Fellowship’s aid, including deliveries of food cards, medicine, clothing, winter relief, home repairs, and medical equipment, as well as homecare visits. Thanks to homecare workers and volunteers, Chaka’s health and emotional needs are attended to. Her small house is frequently filled with young voices, laughter, and a caring energy. These interactions are exactly what she needs to keep her spirits high.

They also help her with basic survival. Her house does not have running water; the only water source is a public well located some distance away. While Chaka’s neighbor allows Chaka to use his well, today Chaka cannot even make it that far. Her Fellowship homecare worker and other volunteers bring Chaka's water to her – the path to the well is icy and difficult even for them; Chaka would never make it there and back on her own without injuring herself.

The Fellowship is literally keeping Chaka hydrated and fed. When Chaka says The Fellowship is keeping her alive, she means it. This is the kind of loving care Fellowship friends make possible every day.

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