Feature Stories

Baku Grandma is Sole Provider, but Not Alone

Natalia and Narmina, grandmother and granddaughter, lean on each other for support. Thanks to the IFCJ-JDC fellowship, they are not alone in their time of need.
Natalia and Narmina, grandmother and granddaughter, lean on each other for support. Thanks to the IFCJ-JDC fellowship, they are not alone in their time of need.

Natalia D., age 55, worked as a bookkeeper for decades until she took a devastating fall last winter that landed her in bed for 10 months with a broken vertebra. As a result, she lost her job—which provided the sole income to support herself, her husband, and their eight-year-old granddaughter. To make matters worse, she recently learned that she has a tumor growing in her liver. Fearful for her family’s future, Natalia reached out to the only place she could get assistance—the JDC-supported Hesed in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Even before her accident, Natalia’s daily survival was a challenge. Her family lives in a poor neighborhood with high rates of vandalism and violence. Their cramped, two-room “home” is on the 7th floor of a hostel, which has no working elevator and long, dark corridors that smell of urine, tobacco, and alcohol. The family’s living quarters are stained with mildew and are painfully cold during most of the year. “There’s no insulation. There is no money to repair the broken lamps. And we don’t use the electric stove because we can’t afford the electric bill,” explains Natalia. The only exception is when they heat a bucket of water in order to bathe themselves.

Above all, Natalia worries about her granddaughter, Narmina. The girl is painfully shy and frequently gets sick, owing in part to her poor diet of mostly bread, potatoes, and tea. Because the family has no electricity and limited water, nutritious, warm meals are hard to prepare. “I pray for her good health,” Natalia says urgently. Despite her own crippling medical problems, grandma cares lovingly for the young girl.

Thankfully, she isn’t the only one investing in this bright child. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jewish (IFCJ)-JDC Partnership for Children in the Former Soviet Union provides the family with a monthly food card to purchase groceries, which they use to avoid making the tough decision between whether to pay for their granddaughter’s medicine or food. The Partnership also furnishes Narmina with the school supplies she needs to attend school and excel in her favorite classes, which include natural sciences, math, and drawing. In addition to her regular subjects in Azerbaijani, Narmina studies Russian. “My granddaughter works hard at school and earns excellent grades,” Natalia proudly shares.

For Natalia and other parents and grandparents of the more than 27,000 children helped by the IFCJ-JDC Partnership, it is often about the little things…the day to day survival.

“Thanks to your help, Narmina has sugar in her tea today,” she says. “I’m really grateful.”

Tags for this story: Children, Elderly, Families

Subscribe to our RSS feed: Feature Stories – JDC Around the World
X

An error occurred during your login.

X

JDC, Cookies, and Your Privacy

Cookies are small pieces of information sent by our web server for storage on your computer, to be retrieved when you return to this site. We use cookies to allow you faster, more convenient access, and to prevent you from being required to log in on every page of our sites.

For more information on JDC’s use of cookies, read our Privacy Policy.

X

An Error Occurred

X

Logging In With One of Your Social Web Site Logins

Instead of trying to remember a bunch of special username/password combinations to log in to different web sites that you visit, you can now link your account on this web site to your account on one (or more) of the social media web sites shown and log in with the same username/password combination that you use on that social web site to log in to our site.

To provide this connection in a secure manner, we use Gigya, a social network connection provider that works behind the scenes to make safe, secure connections between user accounts on different systems, such as popular social media web sites like Facebook and web sites like ours where you are actively involved in social issues and causes.

Each time you log in, Gigya uses special application programming interfaces (APIs) to establish the connection between the sites and validate your username and password. Neither our web site or Gigya receive or store your social network passwords.

In addition to reducing the number of logins you have to remember, connecting your accounts can make it quicker and easier to share an activity or cause you feel passionately about from our web site with your friends on your social web sites.

You can break the connection between your accounts at any time.