One of the mums we met on our visit to the crisis centre was Maria.
She shared just how much her life has been transformed through the centre’s work even after only a few months of living there…
"My name is Maria, I am 29 years old. I come from Ukraine.
For 3 years, I drank every day while working and raising my two young children alone. I tried to stop, but it only ever lasted two or three days at a time. I was addicted. I was living in Ukraine and war was going on around me. It was frightening; I did not want to be there.
At first my drinking was harmless but it escalated and soon my children were taken from me and put in an orphanage. One day I passed some elderly women in the street and heard them singing some hymns I recognised. They said "come, sit and listen". As I sat with them, they realised I needed help and pointed me in the direction of a rehabilitation centre in another city.
For two and a half months, I was in rehab while my children were in an orphanage. One day my brother texted to say I would lose the children forever if I left them there much longer. So, I discharged myself, found work, rented a room, got my children back and tried to do my best.
Left by myself, it wasn’t long before I started drinking again.
I was terrified my children would be taken from me again but I couldn’t get help for my addiction without losing them to an orphanage…but they were my only motivation for recovery - it was a vicious cycle. I was trapped and couldn’t see a way out.
Seeing all this, my sister suggested I go to a centre almost 1000 miles away in Russia. I was told that there, I would get the help I needed and be able have my children with me. I agreed without hesitation.
When I arrived they immediately provided me with everything I needed: soap, shampoo, a towel, bedding and clothes. Then they helped me get my children back from the orphanage so they could live with me at the centre. As the centre provided security for me and my children I was able to get my parental rights back and immediately got them enrolled at a local school.
I was so afraid at the start, but now I have been here for nearly a year!
I am extremely grateful to the centre for accepting me as I was and believing I could do this. Thanks to their help, I have left my addictions in the past and was even surprised how easy it was. I tried to change and I succeeded because of all the support! They also helped me to realise that as a mum, I needed to do so much better. I needed to properly educate my children and communicate using words they understood. My views on life have changed too, and most importantly, my relationship with my children is different.
Today, my daughter Dasha is 9 years old. Together with all the women and children at the centre, I was helped to celebrate her birthday."
We cannot support families like Maria without your support. You can sponsor Maria and her children or any other family at the crisis centre. Click HERE to choose a family to support and pray for.