Welfare mission to Ukraine

By Katie Taylor, November 18, 2010

In a new departure, World Jewish Relief has taken a group of 11-to-15-year-olds to Ukraine to see its welfare work in action.

They met five Dnepropetrovsk families helped by the charity and WJR chief executive Paul Anticoni reported: "The children were mature and engaged and related back to their own privileged existence.

"We wanted them to learn that poverty is complex and occurs for many reasons, such as unemployment, disability and social issues. We also wanted them to understand the bases of tzedakah. Charity is about more than money, it is about bringing a community together. They were astonished at the vast Jewish communities living in such appalling conditions so close to the UK."

The group included Isabella Isaacs, 11, from Hampstead, who was "nervous when I went to visit an old lady called Rosa Altman who looks after her 50-year-old daughter, who has psychiatric problems. But they were really welcoming.

"I then went to the Jewish community centre and I was so glad to see how happy people were there - they could even speak some English to me. I want to keep helping WJR and I am saving up my pocket money. I have already raised £35."

Another participant was 12-year-old Theo Berman from East Finchley, who found it "emotional and informing to see fellow Jews living in poverty".

Last updated: 3:02pm, November 18 2010