Rehabilitated Restored & Relocating!
Back in 2016, when a group from Love Russia went to build a playground at the crisis centre, we met Yaraslava (Yara), 37 years old. Only weeks before she had given birth to a baby girl called Vera. When she arrived at the centre, she was heavily pregnant and in a bad way. A string of bad choices in her past had overwhelmed her to the point of attempting suicide and she needed help to change her life completely.
Yara's STORY: The whole of Yara's adult life had been filled with a series of unhealthy relationships. The result of one was baby Nadya. Having been involved with the wrong crowd she developed a life of drinking heavily and became deeply involved in drugs too. Yara and her daughter Nadya still lived with Yara's mother and there were huge disagreements over money as they were very poor... Yara began dealing in drugs as well as gambling to make money. She recalls spending all night at slot machines in the hope of a big win which of course never came. Finding life unmanageable, Yara tried to kill herself. Fortunately, her mother found her in time. On another occasion, after too much drink, she remembers standing on a balcony on the 5th floor about to throw herself off... but noticed her daughter watching. So instead she ran away, leaving her daughter Nadya, who was 7 at the time, with her grandmother. She didn’t have anywhere to go, so could not take Nadya with her. Yara’s life was in total turmoil. She spent several years sleeping rough; on train platforms or breaking into the shop she'd once worked at. Eventually she met a man and was hopeful of a normal life. The disappointment when things didn't work out devastated her and again she was pregnant (with Vera this time) and still trying to fight her addictions. She returned home begging for help and her mother offered her money for an abortion. Knowing that was not what she wanted, she needed to find another way. Thankfully, someone told her about the centre and after a time of resisting, she agreed to come.
This is when Yara's life began to be transformed beyond recognition. It was hard at first and like many of the women who arrive here Yara had to undergo a rigorous process of counselling. For addicts it is always necessary to remove all phone access so, in a weaker moment, they cannot simply call a dealer and start using again.
We visited the crisis centre two years after Yara first arrived. While we were there a celebration was held for her 39th birthday when she was delighted to be given a new phone as a symbol of her recovery. We enjoyed home made pizza together and sang songs - Yara was very emotional and touched by their love and care.
Helping the women to become the women they want to be and the mothers their children need is not only about breaking addictions... Alina, their mentor, wants her ladies to become strong in their faith and be confident that they are beautiful and precious creations of God. Part of building Yara's confidence was to help her repair all the damage done to her teeth after years of addiction. Alina took Yara to a dentist to fit dentures where all her front teeth were previously missing. The difference in her confidence was immediate and she couldn't stop smiling (see below!)
During Yara's time at the centre she has come into a close relationship with Jesus and her faith is flourishing. Yara is the keenest singer there, always present at times of impromptu worship!
During the last couple of years she and her daughter Vera have remained at the centre helping the new women settle in and enjoying the security and supportive, loving community this place provides... but now she is ready for a new chapter.
Yara and Vera have moved to a nearby flat in Volkhov where Yara now has regular work as a cleaner and Vera is settled at a kindergarden. She visits the centre often to see her friends and attend church services.
Soon another woman in similar circumstances will arrive at the centre needing the same help and support Yara did; and it's stories like hers that will fill these women with hope that complete change is possible. Love Russia and our supporters are so blessed to be a big part of this centre's successes. Thank you for every penny that continues to help transform the lives of many women.