We all, at least sometimes, have to visit a new part of town, probably following a map or satnav to find the right place. Into the neighborhood, get the right street, see all these houses or apartment buildings – but all these people who live here, who are they? What do they do? What do they dream about?
Every house, every family, has its own story. The people who turn to Salem Social Village for help also have their own unique and touching stories, which often arouse great sympathy and admiration for the resistance of the human spirit.
In September, Salem Social Village was able to help a few families in great need to get together all that they needed for their kids to start a new year at school. Here are some of the stories we heard.
Natalya is the mum of eight kids from the small mining town of Granitogorsk, situated right on the border with Kyrgyzstan. After the break up of the Soviet Union, the mines closed, and a population of about one thousand people were left without work. The nearest big city was hundreds of kilometres away. Natalya’s husband suffered a bad injury at home and became disabled. And today, his tiny disability pension and a small farm are the only source of income to feed this large family. To get seven children ready to start school again without outside help would be, for Natalya, unbearable.
Ekaterina has four children. She is bringing them up and supporting them as a single parent. Their father wasn’t able to cope with their hardships and difficulties, and left when the youngest was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Their Mum has to spend a lot of time caring solely for the youngest, and cannot therefore work full-time, instead constantly doing odd jobs as she can find them. The minimal amount of maintenance that her former husband pays is barely enough for Ekaterina to make ends meet. Caring for a child with a disability, and also getting her other children ready to start school, is simply impossible for this single mother without any help.
Zoya is a young, pretty woman who is single-handedly bringing up three kids. With lots of love and dreams of a happy family life, this young lady got married and gave her husband children. Unfortunately, her dreams never materialised. In search of easy earnings, her husband ended up in jail. At the end of his term, he decided not to return to his family. One of the reasons for leaving them was Zoya’s terminal illness. The doctors had given this young woman an awful diagnosis – third stage cancer. All the same, Zoya believes in victory over this deadly disease. In order to prepare her kids for a new school year, regardless of her own physical weakness, she and Salem Social Village staff set out for the bazaar. She carefully chose school uniforms and accessories for her children, who she cares for like a genuine mother.
It’s always a joy to be able to help, even if only a little bit.