Tamara turns 16 in October. She is in the 8 th grade and has classes with tutors of the Chance program in five subjects. There are a lot of gaps in her knowledge, and it is hardly possible for her to prepare for the final exams in the 9 th grade independently.
Tamara came to the orphan asylum two years ago. A child and youth counselor from her school contacted child protective services and reported that the girl was living with her grandmother, not an official guardian of hers, an elderly lady unable to cope with her upbringing. Tamara skipped classes and did not get along with her classmates. Besides, the whereabouts of her mother was unknown.
Her grandmother does not have legal custody of the girl, but she comes to visit and keeps in touch with Tamara.
«My grandmother could not cope with me and watch over me. School authorities complained, so I am here. I was scared at first. People always say that orphanages are a terrible place, but I feel good here. The fosterers are nice; they truly care, they work with us, take us to different beautiful places. As I came here, I made friends with the girls; they treat me well. At school I went to, I had fights, and rows, but it’s not like that here – I feel accepted, I have a sense of belonging. Some kids live with their parents in a family. We all live all together, but it feels like a family. It’s like I have a big family of my own now».
At her new school, Tamara has excellent results, though, at the beginning, she had problems with grades. Tamara does not hurry; she reads well, understands what she has read, and can easily retell it. “She is balanced, calm and very patient,” these are the characteristics given by her new teachers.
It sometimes seems that Tamara is surrounded by some kind of a mystery. She may look detached,though she is always friendly and optimistic. She takes her studies very seriously, is involved, and has a sincere desire to achieve results.
«I don’t want to depend on anyone in the future – it is very important for me. So I study well, I get help, tests no longer scare me. I think things may work out for me».
Tamara had a chance of being adopted, but after some thinking, she refused. Like the majority of teenagers in orphanages, she sees adoption as a betrayal of her birth family.
«The most important person in my life is my grandmother. I can share everything with her, she understands me, and I also know that everything I tell her is really interesting and important for her. I can’t rely on my mom, but I can rely on my grandmother».
Tutors of the Chance program teach Tamara English, Mathematics, Russian, Social Studies, and History. Throughout the next year, Tamara will be getting ready for the State Final Examination. She hopes to be enrolled at a specialized school and then a university. When we asked her about what she appreciates most in people, Tamara replied: «Kindness». She is in deep need of our kindness. Our involvement and care will help Tamara to get that important thing that will remain with her forever.
* All raised funds will be used to pay for Tamara’s classes as well as other children from her orphanage