Project Spotlight: Chamah Assistance for Elderly in the FSU | IFCJ
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Project Spotlight: Chamah Assistance for Elderly in the FSU

Vladimir's story (Photo: Chamah)

Many of Russia’s neediest Jews are elderly who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust in their youth, and now once again lack even the basic help that they deserve.

These needy elderly cannot afford both food and the high out-of-pocket costs for their medical treatment. So many of these Russian Jews go undiagnosed and untreated for controllable health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis – simply because they have to choose between buying medicine and buying food.

The Fellowship is dedicated to helping these individuals who have fallen through the cracks of Russia’s overwhelmed and underfunded health care system. Through our partnership with Chamah, a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping needy Jews in the former Soviet Union (FSU), we strive to ensure that every elderly Jew in the FSU will receive the food, medical assistance, and homecare he or she needs.

Vladimir: No Longer All Alone

When Vladimir was very young, his father left him, his older sister, and mother. Then WWII started, and they were evacuated from Russia and lived in communal apartments. The family lived with 33 other people, and they all shared one bath, kitchen, and toilet.

Those years during the war were challenging. Later, after serving in the army, Vladimir studied electrical engineering and found work at a research institute. They sent him to Algeria to teach at an engineering plant. But there was a terrible flood and the drinking water became contaminated. Vladimir developed bleeding ulcers and was hospitalized in Algeria, and eventually sent back to Moscow.

In Moscow, he married and had a son, but later, his son died from asthma as a teenager. He and his wife separated, and today Vladimir is all alone, still suffering from health problems. He has ulcers, a herniated disk, high blood pressure and other medical issues. Thankfully, Vladimir turned to Chamah.

Employees of Fellowship-supported Chamah take him to all his doctor appointments, bring him nutritious meals, and clean his apartment. He likes visiting the Chamah Center and playing cards with the other elderly there. Although Vladimir would rather be on the giving end and make the elderly happy, he now graciously receives this much-needed help.

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