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Meet Sasha Levkin

 

Meet Sasha Levkin

 
Sasha Levkin is one of the many children with whom we work. Although he is mentally fit, he lives at the Vesnova Children's Mental Asylum in a rural area of Belarus. Your support allows us to improve the lives of many children affected by the Chernobyl disaster, as well us to provide hope for the future.

We do this largely by working on the community level. But, by getting to know Sasha through his story, we have the chance to appreciate that behind every statistic, there is a unique human being who deserves to be acknowledged. I know Sasha, and I am very moved by his dignity and positive outlook in the face of unusually difficult challenges. The photo shows him with CCPI volunteer Suzanne Reese.

 

  
  
 
 

Eighteen year old Sasha Levkin, a resident of the Vesnova Children's Asylum in Belarus, stays indoors for months each winter because his wheelchair cannot be maneuvered in the snow. To mentally escape the boredom of the asylum he spends time looking at a small photo album he always carries with him in a black bag hanging from the back of his wheelchair. He shows the album to all newcomers. Inside is a picture of his sister Katja, who has not been to visit him since early summer as she has no means of transportation. He also has photos of his cousins, his godmother, and his aunt. None of them visit more than once a year, but he says he thinks of them every day. Sasha's father committed suicide when the boy was 9 months old. His mother, who was also an alcoholic, began to beat him when he was a toddler, until he was

sent to live with his aunt in 20o1. My mother didn't care about me, she didn't feed me -- she is an alcoholic, always drinking vodka and then hurting me. I never want to see my mother again. She didn't hit me when I was very little. At that time I could crawl  and could get up from the floor to the sofa by myself, but then she started to  beat me and I could no longer do such things. Sasha liked living with his aunt, but unfortunately his physical disabilities were too great for her to take care of him. So, he is happy with his life at Vesnova, where the other kids see him as a

leader, one of the cool guys. I like it here at Vesnova, this is home to me, I like the director, but some  of the smaller kids drive me crazy. In the future I would like to be a  translator. It looks like a good job and then I could help CCPI.
I gave Sasha an English-Russian language program on CD, and he picks up new words and phrases with ease. Since he is not able to use his hands, he gets some of the younger kids to change the disks for him. He and his friends like to sit in a circle repeating phrases, and they take their studies very seriously. When I last visited him in April, he was using some of his new language skills to flirt with the volunteers. Sasha was even confident enough to patronize me a bit -- he told me my Russian language skills were improving "quite nicely." I was chagrined that I could barely thank him in his own language!

  

  
 
 
 
 
 

Sasha is eighteen years old now, and he will soon be moved into an adult mental institution, where his prospects for survival are very poor. "I don't want to leave Vesnova. I have friends here and don't want to leave what has become my home." We are extremely concerned about Sasha's future, but not quite sure what we can do to help him. I'll continue to post updates. The image on the right shows Sasha when I woke him up in the middle of the night to show him that his photograph was published in PEOPLE Magazine last year. He was beyond pleased. (And I still think he should have been on the cover, instead of whats-her-name Tom Cruise's latest wife. Go figure!)

 
 

Posted by Kathy Ryan at 01:47 AM

 

October 09, 2007

 
 
 
 
 
Категория: Общество | Добавил: Vladmin (12.01.2009)
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