Nastya with her god-daughter
All the young people we help are survivors. Some of them are truly remarkable. Today we'd like to tell the story of one such young lady, Nastya, who we have been able to help overcome terrible insomnia and nightmares caused by her difficult experiences. Today we also have a great opportunity to help more young orphans like Nastya - it's Global Giving bonus day! That means that today a bonus will be added to all donations made up until midnight (EDT).
Nastya is 20 years old. She managed to resolve all her problems when she left the children's home except one, her terrible insomnia and nightmares. She came to us for regular counselling sessions and fortunately, we were able to help. We found a link between her troubles sleeping and the recent loss of several people who were close to her.
Nastya was born in a young offenders' institution when her mother was just 16 years old. None of her relatives took Nastya in, so she was sent to a children's home. Her grandmother and aunt were addicted to alcohol and drugs and her father didn't know she existed. For a few years, Nastya's uncle's family cared for her in the home, where his sister worked, and took her home for weekends and holidays. But one day they suffered a house fire and Nastya didn't see them again. The little girl was devastated at the loss and was comforted by the care workers at the home. When she was a teenager, on the advice of staff at the children's home, Nastya got back in touch with her grandmother, who told her about her family and showed her photographs of her relatives. She started to visit her regularly, and even ran away from summer camp, since "the camp was boring and babushka needed me to help her. She was ill and couldn't walk. I used to go to the shops for her. Then the police caught me and sent me back to the camp."
This contact with her family was a great support to Nastya and helped her through difficult times. She began to notice that her class mates had more difficulties at school at in their relationships than her. For example, "when they told us that we couldn't study in 9th class in an ordinary school with normal kids who live with their families, but that we were being transferred to a remedial class, only me and my friend objected. We understood that then we would never get our school leaving certificate, and it is very important to me because none of my family ever got that." Nastya finished 9th class in an ordinary school and went onto college. When she made new friends, she always tried to get to know their families and to help them as much as she could.
Over a short period of time, a number of people who were close to Nastya died: her grandmother, her friend, her boyfriend and her dad, who, after many years had found out about Nastya and was trying to sort out the documents to make her formally part of his family.
Losing these people, Nastya was very scared that she would lose the chance to spend time with their families who were so dear to her. "Sometimes I just want to go and sit with them, to talk and to drink tea together." During one of our sessions, Nastya said that she was happy to call the mother of her friend who died and arrange to meet with her. She recognised that her friend's mother would need support, because she knew what it was like to lose someone close.
"You helped me to sort out my feelings, to value the people who have been close to me in my life. Before I was overcome with fear that I would lose anyone who was close to me, and so I was afraid to make new friends. At last, I was able to see that I have learnt a lot from those who were close to me, I have learnt how to help people."
It's important for Nastya to have close, trusting relationships, to feel that she isn't just able to help people, but also that she can accept help herself. She understands how important it was for her to have reliable, supportive adults around her, so she is a keen participant in our group project, and inspires the other young people to make changes in their lives.
At the moment, Nastya is studying Physical Education, Sport and Health at university. She says, "I don't find it easy to study. I'm having to re-sit my exams, although I go to class regularly. It's really important to me that someone like you talks to me from time to time, so that I can sort out my difficulties. I really want to work as a sports teacher in school and it's very important to me to know that someone believes in me and my abilities."
Thank you for believing in our young people too. By donating, you make sure that we can support them when they have no-one else to talk to. You are helping Nastya reach her potential as a hard-working, caring young woman who, we are sure will go on to help many others. Thank you!