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When a new balcony means you have family

Ira (right) with Last Bell friends, 2006

Even grown-up kids need family support.

Last Bell was founded after a couple of board members formed close relationships with a group of teenage girls at Orphanage #4 in Zhytomyr (now closed). Ira Didukh was one of those girls, so we’ve known her for a long time! Now Ira is married and has a daughter. But she still needs extended family support. 

Recently, there was a fire in the apartment building where Ira’s family lives. Thankfully, it was several floors below her apartment. But after the fire, the firefighters informed Ira that her balcony was unsafe. If it collapsed and hurt people, her family would be responsible. At the time, Ira’s husband (also an orphan) was left without a regular job, only earning enough to pay utilities and buy groceries. So Ira turned to director Andrey. 

Ira’s balcony, before and after renovation.

Our Restoration Project crew was ready to help! Thanks to your generosity, we we were able to pay for supplies as well as the hours of our crew’s labor. Besides being safer, the new balcony will be better for storage, which is how most Ukrainians use balcony space.

As the crew worked, foreman Sergei noticed that Ira was doing some other repairs in the apartment. She had watched videos online about how to remove tiles, clean ceilings, and paste wallpaper correctly, and she had taken the first steps. But due to her family’s finances – and the lack of an extended family to help – these projects would have taken years. 

Ira at the Day Center office with Director Andrey

Our staff was so pleased to see Ira working to improve her own situation, and decided to help her out. When we called Ira to give her the news, she was moved to tears! She said it would have taken her a long time to do this work on her own. Later she wrote a note to the staff saying she couldn’t believe they were helping her, since she’d graduated so long ago, and to say thank you.

We’re able to make long-term commitments to orphanage graduates thanks to YOUR support and your prayers. It takes all of us to make a loving community for our youth. Thanks for being a part of it!