'Mum died of alcohol addiction and substance abuse. Tikva is now my family'

Eva Fabrikant's story helps Tikva raise £1.45 million from a London dinner for its Odessa homes and schools


Supporters of the Tikva children’s homes and schools in Odessa donated £1.45 million at a London dinner, having heard a success story from a Tikva student.

Eva Fabrikant, 18, told the 270 diners at the InterContinental, Park Lane, that she was born in Israel, where she lived with her family until she was four.

Facing “huge financial difficulties”, they moved to a one-bedroom apartment in Odessa. Her parents argued constantly and “my grandmother would have to take my brother and I to go and stay with her for a few days. We were very scared.”

It was her grandmother who took the initiative to contact Tikva, having read about it in a local newspaper.

“Tikva soon found out about my situation at home and how we were living. It was terrible, and they quickly realised that it wasn’t safe for me to be there.” In late 2007, Eva “packed my backpack, took my favourite toy and was brought to live at the Tikva girls’ home”.

Her parents divorced and she lost contact with her father. Her mother “couldn’t look after herself, let alone a young child”. Diagnosed with liver failure, she eventually died from alcohol addiction and substance abuse.

Tikva became Eva’s “only home and family”. Unable to read or write when she joined, both her English and Hebrew are now good and she dreams of moving back to Israel.

“It is not easy for me to stand here and tell you my story and there are many things I don’t want to share. But it isn’t unique. It is common to many of my friends who have been rescued by Tikva.”

The proceeds from the dinner will go towards the Odessa organisation’s search and rescue mission, which has brought in children from more than 45 cities in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and the Russian Federation.

Tikva employs around two dozen staff tasked with finding, rescuing and documenting destitute Jewish children, having been alerted by teachers, neighbours — and sometimes, by the children’s parents.

In her message in the event brochure, Tikva UK CEO Karen Bodenstein wrote that since the last dinner, more than 100 new children had been brought to the homes and schools.

She cited the example of “recently rescued” Klara. “Her mother was an alcoholic and prostitute and our search and rescue team found her living in unsanitary conditions with no electricity or water supply.

“That we are able to rescue and bring more children into the Tikva homes is nothing short of the miracle of changing history in real time.”






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