Igor’s mother, Tanya, has long dreamed of “a normal life” for her son, despite the social stigma that exists for a child born with Down syndrome in Ukraine. Now 8 years old, Igor is matched with a Big Brother, Ilya, thanks to a partnership between the local Jewish Day School and the Starshi Brat, Sharshaya Sistra (Big Brothers Big Sisters) program in Dnepropetrovsk, CJP’s sister city in Ukraine.
Igor and Ilya (who was previously a Little Brother himself) are a great match; they enjoy bowling and participate in Jewish holiday celebrations together at the local Jewish Community Center. “I am so thankful,” says Tanya.
Starshi Brat, Sharshaya Sistra was launched in Dnepropetrovsk with the help of Boston’s Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, a CJP partner that provides ongoing support and consultation. Your philanthropy makes it possible for CJP, with the help of the Jewish Community Relations Council, to support a growing network of Jewish institutions that provide cultural and educational programs to the Jewish community in Dnepropetrovsk. Together we are promoting Jewish values, building volunteerism and strengthening the overall fabric of Jewish life in Ukraine.
Igor and his Big Brother celebrated Passover together this year — something Igor’s mother said would have been unthinkable last year. “I wanted my son to have a friend,” she says, "but he has received so much more than friendship. Now we feel like we are part of a big Jewish family!”