'Dear Keri, please tell me how I may express my gratitude to these women for helping me and my friends. I do not know how! It is so generous!'
Nastya promised to keep tabs on everyone and make sure they are writing back to their sponsors and being good stewards of the money. She is such a gem. She ended her message by thanking me for having confidence in her :)
So now I have three more girls I'd like to tell you about. First up is Sveta. Sveta is 16 and just aged out of the orphanage in June. Nastya tells me she is in school, but I do not know more details about what Sveta is studying or how she is getting by. I do know Sveta is a kind, quiet, thoughtful girl. I first met her in May 2009 when she was 12. She spent most of her time reading, and was overjoyed to receive a barbie doll to play with that summer! The caretaker I trust most says that Sveta is a girl who is "going to make something of herself." She is very level-headed and manages to still be kind and open-hearted while having lived in the hopeless and chaotic environment of the orphanage. This photo is from June of this year:
Next is Tanya. She is 17, and aged out in June. She was a top student and is much-loved by the others girls. She is one of the girls everyone goes to for support and guidance. She is a helper by nature and was always looking out for the younger girls in her group. She is also incredibly friendly and upbeat - something you don't often find in the orphanage population. Here is Tanya in June 2013:
Finally, there is Natasha. Natasha is dear to my heart because she has gone out of her way to watch over my Daniel ( the little boy I was adopting before the adoption ban was put into effect.) She is very serious, hard-working, very private but always ready to help. I had a hard time convincing her to accept help from a sponsor. I talked with her online for an hour last night, and she was very resistant, because she said 'there are others so much worse off than I. I cannot accept help when there is a bigger need with ______ and ______.'
I tried to explain why it was important we send money to those we know can 'handle' the support and that she was welcome to help her friends, too. But sending money to some of the more destitute girls actually backfires, I've found. They do not know how to handle the money and end up spending it wastefully or gorging on too much food all at once. Natasha is very practical and will be careful with every penny. Here she is:
If you would like to sponsor any of these wonderful girls, please let me know. I'm happy to tell you more about them, too! I just ask that those willing to sponsor make a 12 month commitment, so the girls can have some stability for an extended amount of time.
Edit: As of 9pm tonight, ALL these girls are sponsored! I'll be posting about the final 3-4 in the coming week!