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Project Spotlight: Chamah Assistance for Elderly in the FSU

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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been crippled with an economic crisis, leaving the weakest and most vulnerable individuals alone without any government support. Many of Russia’s neediest residents 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.

Paulina: No Longer All Alone

Paulina had an unhappy childhood. Her father and mother were killed in World War II, and she was raised in an orphanage, where she was often sick.

Later, she got married, but she never had any children. Last year, her husband had a stroke and passed away, and Paulina was once again left all alone. “How can I continue to live?” she often wondered. In addition to dealing with her grief, Paulina began to suffer from severe arthritis.

She tried several different medications, but couldn’t find anything that helped. And because she relies almost entirely on her meager government pension for support, it quickly became impossible for her to afford both medication and food.

Thankfully, Paulina turned to Chamah. A doctor visited her and was able to provide her with comfort and advice – and she not only appreciated his medical care, but she was so thrilled to have company, too. By the time he left, some of her pain had already disappeared, and she loudly expressed her thanks to The Fellowship for looking out for her when she was all alone!

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