Helping FSU Children Brave the Cold

For many, this winter delighted with beautiful snow showers, bonus days-off for sledding, and glimpses of stellar athletes giving their all at the 2010 Winter Olympics. But in the former Soviet Union, there are many Jewish children who must go without, whose lives are deeply impacted in a different way by the cold, harsh winter and a frozen economy.

Since 2008, however, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ)-American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Partnership for Children in the Former Soviet Union provides basic food, medicine, shelter, and clothing for 25,000 of those children. Many of them are impoverished and/or from homes suffering from unemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse, and family strife.

These children and their families continue to feel the impact of the global economic crisis and new needs have arisen as a result of fluctuating inflation rates, widespread levels of unemployment and underemployment, and slashed incomes.

The IFCJ-JDC Partnership also provides critical social services and much-needed school supplies and integrates the children and their families into the local Jewish communities through subsidized programming. Among the hundreds of families who have been assisted by the IFCJ-JDC Partnership are the Turaevs from Uzbekistan:

Gabriel, age 4, and Arniel, age 1, don’t really have a home to call their own. As a result of the financial downturn in the region, the boys are living in a crowded apartment with relatives, together with their parents Alexey and Irina. Because Alexey was laid off in March 2009 and Irina has been out of work since giving birth to Arniel, the family scrapes by on the small amount of money made through Alexey’s taxi driving jobs. Additionally the Turaevs, who are not eligible for a social pension, receive meager help from both Alexey and Irina’s mothers, who themselves live on very tight budgets. Sadly, the little money they do have was stretched even further recently when Gabriel came down with several viral infections that required immediate treatment.

And yet, through the IFCJ-JDC Partnership, the two boys are receiving food packages and other basic needs this winter. Such support will ensure that while Alexey and Irina seek to make ends meet, their two young sons can get the basic nutrition and care that is lacking among tens of thousands of Jewish children at risk across the former Soviet Union.

Learn more about Kate, another client helped by the IFCJ-JDC Partnership.

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