Faces of The Fellowship: Vladimir and Sofia

The Fellowship  |  July 31, 2019

Vladimir Pivovarov with a woman sitting next to him as he tells a story.

Vladimir, 65, and his devoted wife Sofia were reluctant to seek support.

“We were sure that there are people out there who need help more than we do,” Sofia says. “But when we realized that with our small pensions we must choose between food and medicine, we forced ourselves to ask for help. It was not an easy decision, but we’re happy we did it. Life became so much easier thanks to The Fellowship.”

After undergoing two heart surgeries, Vladimir will need to take multiple daily medications for the rest of his life. The couple spends about one-third of their income on these expensive medicines. They live in a modest but tidy apartment and no longer pursue their love for traveling, as they cannot afford the expense.

Although they can no longer travel, the couple remains busy and Sofia is very active in the St. Petersburg Jewish community. She attends events, summer retreats, and seminars.

The couple have two grown children — a daughter and a son. Like Sofia, their daughter is active in the local Jewish community and recently married another Jewish leader. Their son is about to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel), a move their daughter and son-in-law are also considering.

“We were not thinking of making aliyah, but now with our son about to move and our daughter and her husband also thinking about it, we’re looking into this option too. I love both my kids, but my daughter is more than just a daughter for me. She is my closest friend, my comfort, my love,” Sofia explains.

In the meantime, the financial support provided by The Fellowship has been vital to the couple’s life in Russia. In addition to ensuring that Vladimir can afford his medications, it has also reduced his stress, as he no longer needs to worry about choosing between food and medicine. This is very important for Vladimir, whose heart rate needs to remain as stable as possible.

“Life has improved,” Vladimir says. “I am grateful to The Fellowship.”