POVERTY-STRICKEN, BUT WE MANAGE
MARIA Dolinskiy gestures to us to sit down, but does not take a chair herself. Our translator tells us she has just returned from a trip to Odessa, a tenhour round trip – all to make the equivalent of five US dollars (£4).
When her daughter died of kidney failure and her son-in-law died of tuberculosis, Mrs Dolinskiy undertook to raise her grandchildren herself, rather than let them go into an orphanage.
We meet two of the children – Maxim, 14, and Lyuba, 12 (below). The cost of utility bills, plus food and medicine for the children’s chronic bronchitis, far outstrips Mrs Dolinskiy’s meagre pension and the negligible state benefits the children receive. But the family is helped by World Jewish Relief with food and medicine cards, activities and vocational training. They attend the local Jewish school and take part in events organised at the Jewish community centre.
As well as going to school, Maxim is on a course which will prepare him for a job in the service industry.
Natasha, the family’s WJR case worker, says Mrs Dolinskiy is “tireless, an example to all others in challenging circumstances. We are proud to have people like her”.
Mrs Dolinskiy explains: “We are so grateful to be a part of this programme. We do not live a luxurious life, but somehow, we manage.”