• Natalia with Yaroslav and her sweet workshop in kindergarten | Photo: JAFI
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Life beyond Russia in The Promised Land- First Home Update

Valeria Zakharova - 31 August 2021

This is the true story about a Russian family from Moscow who made aliyah in July 2020 and now lives in kibbutz Revivim.

It might be a common story of aliyah, if not for their little son Yaroslav. He is a wonderful handsome 6-year-old boy with simple boy’s likes and interests – cars, puzzles, cartoons. However, he sees the world around him differently. He is confident this world has to be friendly! And it does. But not always.

“It might be a common story of aliyah, if not for their little son Yaroslav”

Yaroslav was born in Moscow and Sergei and Nataliya Begak were really happy to become parents! But at the age of 3 their son was diagnosed with autism syndrome. And everything changed immediately. For children with a diagnose like that living in Russia means no development. Unfortunately, these children are outcasts for their peers. It is about “not normal you” versus the “normal people’s” world. But Sergei and Nataliya were not going to give up.

Natalia, Sergey and Yaroslav at the fair in kibbutz Revivivm | Photo: JAFI

So, they started looking for the ways to deal with this situation. And they managed! They learnt that they had the right to make aliyah. For Yaroslav it was a great chance! Here, in Israel, children with autism syndrome live their normal lives and don’t stay out of the society that is tolerant of them. They study in specialized kindergartens and schools being looked after by professionals.

It was a real challenge for the kibbutz, but the Revivim administration accepted the family there and provided Yaroslav with a specialist.

Yaroslav has made friends with many kibbutz dwellers and become more sociable. He plays with other children in the kindergarten and takes part in all events held there: draws and paints and even has composed his own display of paintings.

Yaroslav makes cookies in kindergarten | Photo: JAFI

“It was a difficult step for us, but it was done for the sake of our son’s future. We both had good jobs in Moscow. I left my parents and my friends in Moscow. But it was worth doing! Yaroslav feels safe in the kibbutz. He trusts other people and we are sure no one will do him any harm. He likes giving hugs to people and they give him their warmth in return”, said Natalya. “If we had started our new life independently, either in a big city or in a cozy small town on the coast, we would have never been able to find our place in Israel. In September Yaroslav should go to the school, chosen in accordance with the professional recommendations. It won’t be easy for us, but we are sure everything will be OK. By the way, thanks to the kibbutz’s support we stay in Revivim in this familiar and friendly environment!”, she confided. “We are very grateful to the Program, to the kibbutz Revivim, to the people who provided assistance to us”, she said.

Natalia and her wonderful cake | Photo: JAFI

“We have also found a use for ourselves in our new country. I have already got a job and lead an active lifestyle”, added Sergei. “Natalya has started her own business as a confectioner which she has long been dreaming about. She bakes wonderful cakes!”

“We are very grateful to the Program, to the kibbutz Revivim, to the people who provided assistance to us”

We are really happy for this family! The real Zionists from kibbutz Revivim did their best to help Yaroslav and his parents! Let’s pray for them and wish them good luck! We hope we will be in touch with them to share their future success!

Please support the “First Home in the Homeland” Project. Any amount is welcome!
Assisting a family in the “First Home” program costs € 230 euro / US $ 250 a month.

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