Eight-year-old Ilya sits between his elderly grandparents in the small apartment in Ukraine that he shares with them and his mother. But this sweet Jewish boy is all alone.
Ilya’s mother suffers from mental illness and disabilities so bad that she does not even realize this precious child is her own. And his grandparents cannot keep up with the active youngster, nor can the impoverished couple take care of his many physical and psychological needs.
Ilya was born with deformities in his feet that require therapies his grandparents can neither fathom nor afford. And because he has been stuck in this environment his whole life, the boy is far behind in social and language development…and has no friends of his own.
“It is difficult for my husband and I to raise Ilya,” his sad grandmother told Fellowship volunteers when we learned of their living situation. “He is an active little boy and we will soon be unable to give him the support that he needs to grow and thrive.”
And when Fellowship staff showed kindness to the boy, his reaction broke their hearts. Handed a package filled with delicious treats, Ilya opened a jar of chocolate spread, and the sweet smell filled his nostrils and made his mouth water. This little boy had never before experienced what we take for granted.
When Ilya was given a bag filled with clothing for the winter, he tried on his new winter coat right away and danced around the apartment wearing it. Again, something we take for granted – a coat to keep warm – was a life-changing gift to this child.
But thanks to loving Fellowship friends around the world, the lives of Ilya and his family have been changed…for the better!
A Fellowship-supported project is providing support and a rehabilitation plan for the family. Ilya is now going to school and receiving speech and occupational therapy to help him with the life skills that he lacked. Food packages keep being delivered, giving the family the basic help that they need. Ilya’s mother is also now receiving the right balance of medication and therapy that she needs.
And thanks to Christian and Jewish friends like you, Ilya is also now connecting with his faith. His grandparents had to hide their Jewish faith during the Soviet days. But now, Ilya and his grandfather go to synagogue together.
Ilya’s grandmother is so grateful at how these sisters and brothers in faith have helped her family. “We were always so concerned about Ilya being left alone in the world,” she says. “But The Fellowship has shown us that we are not alone, your kindness has changed the path of our lives. We now know that Ilya has a bright future ahead of him thanks to the support of loving and generous people.”