David, 15, and Simon, 7, live in the city of Krasnodar, Russia. Both children have been blessed with artistic talent – one is a wonderful artist, while the other is a dancer. But lately, their living situation has made it difficult for them to practice their talents.
The family lives in a small apartment together with their grandfather and uncle – both of whom suffer from illness. The grandfather requires daily treatment, diaper changing, expensive medication, and assistance with daily chores. He occasionally forgets to close the water tap or gas, and cannot be left alone. The family's uncle also cannot be left alone, but for a completely different reason. He suffers from a mental illness, and often acts aggressively.
Recently, life has drastically changed for the family. The grandmother, who was devoted to the welfare of the handicapped grandfather, passed away and now David and Simon’s parents must care for both the grandfather and uncle alone.
If the family's financial situation was different, they would send the uncle to a special needs home where he could have daily care – but as long as they struggle to pay their bills, they have to manage his behavior on their own.
The father works hard to provide for his father and brother-in-law, but they still don’t have enough to survive. And, the oldest child, David, worries about his family’s financial struggles.
"Growing up alongside our uncle – and watching our grandmother and mother's dedication to him and our grandfather – has always stirred up mixed feelings," David explains. "On the one hand, it is a great mitzvah, act of kindness, and they have served as true role models to us, but on the other hand, we are forced to live in poverty. Dad works as hard as he can, but he simply can't take care of so many people."
Thankfully, the Jewish community of Krasnodar eagerly wants to assist the family with their financial and health burdens. When they first heard of their needs, they enrolled them in the relief assistance provided across the former Soviet Union to needy Jewish children and families – which is funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).
"Thanks to IFCJ," David says, "my brother and I know that we will never be hungry. We receive a monthly parcel of nutritious, kosher foods, including different sweets and snacks.
“We also know that our friends at school will not notice our poverty because IFCJ gives us clothing vouchers to shop twice a year and buy new clothing. We choose exactly what we want and what we need, and nobody can guess that we cannot really afford such cool clothing."
Thanks to our wonderful donors, children like David and Simon know they can always rely on IFCJ to help them through financial struggles.
And, hopefully, as the family begins to rely on IFCJ, the children will begin to worry less about food, clothing, and shelter, and, rather, have time to focus on school and friendships, just as every child deserves.