Is it possible to survive on 2,000 UAH (less than $80) per month, if you suffer from with two serious illnesses and have to care for an elderly mother who has blindness and deafness?

This is not a social experiment, but rather the life reality for a 58-year-old Vera Pchela from the frontline town of Maryinka of Donetsk region – a town which has been affected by war for over 6 years now.

Vera shares:
During the summer, I at least didn’t have to buy coal for heating and I was able to save 12,000 UAH to cover half of the eye surgery on both eyes that I needed not to go blind. I have the minimal pension. It helps you not to die but it hardly helps you to live. I have a number of health conditions which require continuous medications that take up almost all of my income.

My mom needs the same cataract surgery as I do. She also suffers from bowel obstruction and also needs a surgery for that. She also has been deaf for several years, and I can’t help her buy a hearing aid. There is one positive perspective to her deafness, however: she can’t hear when heavy shelling starts and she doesn’t have to worry about that.

I really needed this eye surgery but I had no money for that until CBN-Emmanuel came to my life and helped me pay for it... Now that I’ve had the eye surgery, our life will be easier. I’ll spend the money I had saved for my mother’s surgery!”

To survive on a minimum pension and a meager disability benefit, the total amount of which does not even reach $100 per month is not only difficult but rather unrealistic.

According to the woman, after she receives her pension and disability allowance, she spends almost all of it in the pharmacies – she can’t survive without her life-supporting medications.

When she is out of money, she either borrows money from her neighbors and the debt continues to increase endlessly.
Vera is not able to work, because she is immunodeficient, which is accompanied by constant weakness and the inability of the body to cope with diseases and viruses. She is forced to live in partial isolation from society. The woman has a 26-year-old son, Alexander, who also has a disability after undergoing open heart surgery.

Vera called CBN-Emmanuel’s hotline on January 31, 2020, on the last day of the project for people living in war-affected areas in eastern Ukraine implemented by CBN-Emmanuel in partnership with OCHA’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. Vera asked to help her cover half of the eye surgery (12,500 UAH). However, thanks to its partnership with UHF, CBN-Emmanuel was able to cover this surgery in full (25,000 UAH).

There is no way I could cover all these sores within my budget, – Vera shares. – Even if I add my mother’s minimum pension, it doesn’t get any better. I don’t even know where to go for help. Wherever I call or go, I receive a refusal. However, when I called CBN-Emmanuel, God Himself smiled to me from heaven”.

In the photo – Vera Pchela after her eye operation funded by Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

By Anna Chaban