As a baby, Katya was surrounded by two loving parents and a home of her own. Today, Katya’s life isn’t nearly as stable, as she spends her time traveling between her two grandmothers’ houses in Ukraine.
When Katya was three, her mother was diagnosed with a severe mental illness. She became unreliable and refused treatment. After a year of fighting, Katya’s parents divorced and Katya’s mother entered a psychiatric hospital.
Katya’s father could not care for his daughter on his own, and Katya began splitting her time between her two grandmothers – both still working yet struggling financially, and neither able to watch their granddaughter fulltime. Instead, Katya spends two weeks with one grandmother before traveling across town to spend two weeks with the other. Her father provides her grandmothers with money for Katya’s care, but can’t do much else.
Although she puts on a brave face, all this instability has made Katya withdrawn and anxious. The house she shares with her grandmother Rozalia is old, dimly lit, and rundown. Rozalia survives on a salary of only $60 a month, and even with help from Katya’s father, she can barely buy food for Katya. Rozalia has diabetes and must spend most of her income on expensive medications.
But while she may not have money to give her, Rozalia showers Katya with love, and the two clearly enjoy one another’s company, attending synagogue together on the Sabbath and speaking to each other with affection.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) is easing some of the family’s worry by providing Katya with a bank card, which she uses to purchase food and medicine. IFCJ recently bought Katya a new pair of much-needed shoes. Between the love of her grandmother, and the loving support of Christians and Jews from around the world, Katya feels very blessed!