Seven-year-old Margarita lives in a tiny apartment in a large Soviet-style apartment block in central Kiev, Ukraine. All Margarita can see outside her window is a mall and a busy intersection, basically many feet of concrete and cars. Inside, things are not much better. The wallpaper is so old and faded it has totally lost all its color.
But the living situation is the least of Margarita’s challenges. Born with severe kidney problems, Margarita has spent most of her childhood in and out of doctor’s offices. This September, she began school for the first time. Not that she is behind on learning, since she is exceptionally smart. Margarita especially loves geography; give her a globe, and whatever country her finger lands on she can tell you a story about it.
Margarita also loves reading, especially about animals. She hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up. “I think everyone, even me, needs to give back to nature, to the community, to others,” Margarita explains.
Margarita is especially attuned to the kindness of others as she has benefitted from other people’s kind acts many times over. Last year, Margarita was able to have a very important surgery due to a charity fund. The surgery led to a vast improvement in Margarita’s health, and Margarita is well aware that her mother, who is raising her alone, would never have been able to pay for it on her own.
Now Margarita tries to help others whenever she can. “Every time we visit the supermarket, or any store, I put money in the charity box next to the cashier to help stop other people’s suffering,” Margarita says.
Thanks to The Fellowship, Kiev’s Beitenu program is able to offer support and kindness to this young girl who is herself so eager to give to others. Margarita’s father left the family shortly after her birth and pays no alimony, leaving Margarita and her mother, Inna, to struggle to make ends meet on a tiny government subsidy. This amount is too small to raise a healthy child, let alone one with the type of medical problems Margarita faces.
“It is hard to overestimate the amount of assistance The Fellowship gives us,” says Inna. “It is the only way we survive. Margarita is constantly in need of medicine; we would never be able to make ends meet without The Fellowship.”
The Fellowship currently provides Margarita with monthly food assistance, which allows Inna to spend all of her income on Margarita’s medicine. Last year, before the winter, we also bought Margarita warm clothing and shoes so that she would not suffer in the cold. This kind-hearted young girl does not take this help for granted, and will now be able to grow into a healthy young woman who shares the same compassionate acts with the people around her.Faces of the Fellowship