‘I want to help people, to heal them’
Author: Westfall Rita
Yulia was born in the Kirov region and grew up with three brothers in a two-parent family. A prosperous, talented, beautiful, and timid girl, whose childhood was supposed to be cloudless and happy. Yulia’s story is an example of how suddenly and irrevocably everything can change in life.
Her story is also an example of how important it is to get support to survive in spite of everything and keep moving towards a happy future.
Yulia is probably the only one of our graduates who took the initiative herself and asked for her story to be told. She recollects her whole life clearly, and in detail; she doesn’t want to get rid of any memories; she thinks of all the difficulties as trials that gave made her stronger. A year ago, in August, Yulia was a participant of the educational Campus of the Chance Program. There, Yulia confirmed her desire to get enrolled at a university and met children from other orphanages who, like her, faced the worst thing – the loss of their home.
A year later, Yulia successfully finished her first year at the Vyatka State University, Faculty of Computer, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. She is studying to get a driving license and saves up to buy a car of her own. Yulia’s story firsthand is given below.
“I grew up as a small and fragile girl in a large family. I had two older brothers and one who was a year younger than me. Mom, dad were both working and loved us. Vasya and I went to school; I was 11, he was 10, Misha and Seryozha were already 18 at the time when everything changed at our home, they were studying to get a profession and living their own lives.
My parents began to drink alcohol – first, my father, then my mother. Dad became aggressive; he started beating mom. Vasya and I defended her as best we could; we tried to fight him. In the end, we were beaten, too. We were taken away after the night I thought would be the last one for us. We were brought to the hospital; our neighbors called the police. At the hospital, they told us that we would be transferred to an orphanage. Mom came to the hospital; she brought us everything we liked, cried, said how much she loved us.
My brother and I kept together; we were scared; we didn’t know what to expect. One day I woke up, ran to my brother’s room, but he was not there. I couldn’t find his things either. I burst into tears, rushed to the doctors, nurses. I was told that he was sent to an orphanage. I shouted at them:
“How so? We are brother and sister; we cannot be separated!” Nobody reacted. I stopped eating; I simply cried all the time. I hadn’t eaten anything for three days, I was weeping, and weeping without stopping. Mom called everyone she could; she was looking for Vasya. A few days later, I was told that I was also going to the orphanage; they said that my younger brother was waiting for me there. This turned out to be a lie.
The world collapsed for the third time. I didn’t have the strength to cry or scream. Then Vasya said that when he was taken away from the hospital, he was promised that they would bring me to him in the evening. We were very far from each other. Later we were allowed to call each other; it became a little easier. Mom also called; every day, she promised to pick us up.
New Year was approaching, sponsors came and handed out gifts. The headteacher came in and said that someone came for me how I ran down! I didn’t need any gifts, toys, nothing! My elder brother and grandmother stood there; they said that I could get ready, that we were going home. On the way, we took Vasya too.
Mom could not return to normal life, although they broke up with my father. Two years later, precisely, my brother and I returned to the same orphanage, only together this time. Grandma fell ill, and her custody was taken away. For the next four years, I had been living in an orphanage. No one visited us during this time; when they brought us to the city, our elder brother came for short meetings.
My first memories of the orphanage are terrible. Not because something bad was happening, but being there was simply unbearable for a calm, exemplary girl. I knew what good and evil were; they could hit me; they could make me an outsider; they did not include me in companies and games. I felt comfortable with the teachers; I tried to be around adults; children scared me.
But you get used to everything; I had to live, I began to study, to do my best. Here is one of my greatest memories – I was the only one sent to the camp called Orlyonok; it was a responsible, honorable experience. Later I was in the group of children who went to Yandex to get acquainted with information technology. This trip became an impetus for my studies; I saw a place where I would like to work in the future.
We had never been offered a foster family; I would have never agreed. You cannot choose parents; I have remained faithful to mine; it will always be like this.
I have been studying in the Chance Program for two years; the online tutors of the Arifmetika Dobra Foundation helped me prepare for the Unified State Exam. Chance became a family, which I once found, or rather, they found me. We fell in love with each other, and it played a huge role in my life.
I am happy that I have become a person to be proud of. Grandma is proud, my brothers too. It is important for me to find my place and live a useful life.
My friend Polina is the closest and most loyal person to me. We have been together since kindergarten; her family has always been attentive to me and worried about what is happening in my life. It was a real shock for Polina when I was placed in the orphanage, but even that did not prevent us from communicating. We wrote real letters to each other. I remember teaching her to skate; I remember us riding bikes; we always looked forward to our meetings. When I was already living in the orphanage, she managed to go to the same summer camp we were sent to; it was a real holiday. Now we are studying at the same institute, she is in her third year, and I am in my second.
Polina is like a sister for me, a thread that connects me with my childhood, strong and indestructible.
This year I made my first private journey – I went to Arkhangelsk by train to see my friend Nikita. We met at Campus last year and have been in touch all this time.
I know that he will read this text and smile, so I want to say, “Nikita, be strong, live your life to the fullest, and take everything it gives you, and I will always be there for you.”
Earlier, we have published Nikita’s story; you can read it here.
I do not know if we will see each other again, but I know for sure that having lost one thing, you will always find another. The main thing is to keep looking and not to lose heart. I believe in myself, and I’m proud of my younger brother, who has also chosen higher education and plans to enter a university, the Faculty of Financial Security. We are doing great; we have endured everything. Thanks to everyone who was there for us and helped.”
The Chance Program works in most regions of the country to give as many children as possible to enter universities and believe in themselves, so we need your support. Help us to pay for the lessons of children with tutors – even a small donation can change a child’s life.