Single Mom Perseveres Against Struggle

Whenever Allies volunteers visit orphanages and children’s centers across Eastern Europe, they are always met with smiles. But behind every smile, there is a story of pain, neglect and trauma, one that can dramatically alter the course of their lives once they age out of the orphanage.

Lena is a graduate of the Novosevostopolskiy children’s home. The events that led her to placement in the orphanage are heartbreaking to say the least: shortly after she was born, Lena’s parents rejected her, leaving her instead in the care of her father’s sister. Lena was only 18 months old when her mother passed away from an illness. Her drunkard father died a year and a half later.

Lena tells this story matter-of-factly, and says she has no complaints about being raised in the children’s home. Fortunately, her teachers were kind, and she remembers having her fair share of happy moments. But the constant bullying from other children compounded the pain of abandonment, and her life was marred with difficulty until she graduated. She went on to study to become a candy maker, only to drop out eventually. She began dating a young man (also a graduate of the orphanage), and in time, she bore his son, Dima.

Her troubles did not end there. Last year, Dima’s father was criminally convicted and sent to jail. Lena found herself raising Dima on her own. Being a single parent posed new challenges, and as bad luck would have, the apartment she received from the government caught on fire. Dima sustained injuries and must undergo surgery.

Now, Lena and Dima live with her mother-in-law. She is focusing on getting her life back on track, restoring documents that will enable her to secure a job. The financial burden is heavy but there have been people, including Allies, that have come to her aid, donating clothes and household items. From time to time, Lena receives visits from social service workers, advising her to place Dima in the orphanage.

“I always tell them ‘no,’” Lena proclaims. “I always tell them I want to raise Dima myself.” This is not a common response among single mothers, who often leave their children in the care of the state – even if their living conditions are not as dire as Lena’s.

The bravery and strength that Lena has shown is truly admirable, her resilience humbling. Her story is reflected in the lives of so many other graduates who, one way or another, end up in a compromising situation. With Dima still recovering and Lena out of work, the two have a long road ahead of them. But Allies has intervened and wants to be the good Samaritan of this story – to help Lena and Dima get to a better place in life and have hope for a better future. Together we can make a difference! Will you partner with us?