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“Poverty has many roots, but the tap root is ignorance.”

“Poverty should not be a barrier to learning, and learning must offer a way out of poverty.”

– Lyndon B. Johnson

Poverty is often associated with limited access to knowledge beyond the classroom.

During Soviet times all education was free, and everyone had to work or face imprisonment. Today, the Ukrainian government provides limited free assistance other than trade school or college for orphans, in preparation to enter the work force. Unemployment is high, wages are low, and fewer jobs are available. Ukraine continues to struggle to stabilize its economy even after twenty-two years of being an independent country.

Living in poverty is not living, it is survival. The main task is to earn money for food, clothing, and shelter. Education is the key to the destruction of poverty. It helps people become more confident in themselves and be responsible citizens.

In many families, fathers who were educated in professions during the Soviet system are not able to succeed in life. They are seeking to find work that is suitable for their professional training with appropriate financial compensation. It is almost impossible to find appropriate work, especially after the age of 40 years. They cannot give their children an education, and they start drinking.

I want to tell you an example from my personal life. After the death of my first husband, I raised two children alone. When my son Misha graduated from high school, he had to choose where he would study. Even though I had good income at my job at the seaport, I did not have money to pay for university education for my son. My entire salary went to pay for utilities, food, clothing and other general living expenses. He did attend trade school to study appliance repair because it was free.

My father, who was a highly licensed welder, was concerned for Misha’s future. He and Mom paid for my son’s five-year study of agriculture at the University. With a diploma, Misha was able to get a good job, where he now is a supervisor over thirty workers. Now his goal is to save money for his three-year-old daughter to attend higher education in her future.

Misha’s wife, Ira, also attended university, but only had funds for one year of classes. She works now and has a great desire to complete her university education as soon as they have the available funds.

Sveta’s daughter, Olga

My parents paid for a three-year education for my daughter in college. Her education cost as much as university studies. Now she has a wonderful profession as a hairdresser; she loves her work.

Many of Misha’s friends did not have the opportunity of higher education. They did not have parents or grandparents who had the interest or the means to help with their education. His friends had no motivation. Because of this, they have chosen the lifestyle of their families. They drink alcohol to excess and have no vision for their future.

You can give the four girls in our program a great opportunity to start their adult lives with the best knowledge that will help them realize the potential which lies within them. Don’t miss seeing two of the girls talk about their futures.

They will, in the future, encourage and help others. I think the hearts of these four beautiful students are filled with compassion for people who have needs, and they will encourage and support others because others encourage and support them now.

$10 will help Nastya and Natasha change their communities in Ukraine!

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