Filming Lyubov and her homecare worker for Rosh Hashanah
By Tanya Freedman, Digital Communications Manager
Watch the film above to hear directly from Lyubov about her situation.
With only 10 words of Russian in my repertoire, it is rare that I get the opportunity to speak directly to the people we support in Eastern Europe. When I heard that Lyubov, the lady we feature in our Rosh Hashanah campaign, is a former English teacher, I immediately wanted to meet her and with a cameraman in tow, I took the opportunity to visit her during a recent work trip to Ukraine.
Lyubov lives in an old Soviet apartment block with a steep flight of stone steps up to the entrance, followed by a cold and dimly lit staircase leading to the high-rise apartments. On each floor, the doorways are covered with thick plastic sheeting in an attempt to keep out the draughts – but once inside Lyubov’s apartment it was cosy and the reception I received was extremely warm.
Her English was initially rusty but soon Lyubov’s words started to flow and she told me about her active and vibrant life as a young woman – how she studied English and German at university and how much she loved her career teaching English to phone operators. At one point she proudly showed me her dog-eared and much loved copy of Jeffrey Archers’ ‘Kane and Abel’ which she had read and re-read numerous times. I didn’t dare disavow her of her high opinion of Archer by telling her about his time spent behind bars.
With copy of ‘Kane & Abel’
Lyubov’s vibrancy and spirit made it easy to forget she was a woman suffering chronic pain. Rheumatoid arthritis has left her unable to walk and confined to a single sofa where she sits during the day and sleeps at night. With no family to take care of her, Lyubov’s lifeline has become Iryna, a homecare worker provided by World Jewish Relief who visits daily. Iryna brings her groceries and medicines, prepares her food, brings water for Lyubov to keep by her bedside and takes care of various tasks around the home. Most importantly, Iryna provides company and good cheer. Without Iryna, Lyubov told me quite simply, she would not survive.
Lyubov’s situation is incredibly difficult but one of the saddest moments of my visit was when Lyubov told me she was glad she could no longer walk to her window. She said she couldn’t bear to look out and see people walking around freely and taking that ability for granted. It broke my heart that Lyubov was so cut off from the outside world but I was glad to know that by sending Iryna, we are reconnecting her to the wider community by bringing it into her home.
Just £252 could provide a whole year of homecare. Please helps us offer this lifeline to Lyubov and others like her by donating today.
Watch the film we made by scrolling back to the top of this page.
My selfie with Lyubov