Passion and leadership: Mariya’s story

Mariya, from Ternopil, Ukraine, comes from a large family. Even though her parents both work full time, they could barely meet the needs of their children. Sponsorship brought great new opportunities for Mariya and her siblings. “From the day I was sponsored, we were able to afford food, school supplies, and household goods. My parents were also able to save for our education and development,” Mariya says.

Thanks to the support, Mariya had the special opportunity to attend music school, and was able to excel in her regular studies, too. She took home many school prizes in academic contests, and always achieved top marks. As she got older, she became especially passionate about English class. “At that time I understood that English and language skills were important for my future. I had extra classes of English with a tutor who inspired me to connect my future with English and teaching,” Mariya explains.

Mariya is now pursuing a teaching degree with a specialization in English. “My college is located far away from home, but due to this I have become more independent and achieved a lot by myself,” she says. Her sponsor made sure she had everything she needed for her dormitory, such as bed sheets, cooking supplies, towels, and hygiene supplies. Mariya is an active participant in her college community, and keeps extremely busy! “Here in college I have made many friends,” she says. “I continue to take part in the college’s sport competitions in football and volleyball. Apart from English, I study German, Russian and French.”

In the summer of 2018, Mariya worked on an internship over college break at a summer camp as a group leader.”I worked two months in the camp and got valuable experience working with children. For some of them I was a teacher, for others a friend or even a parent, because children are very different,” Mariya reflects.

Recently, Mariya was invited to study education in Slovakia. She had applied to a prestigious university, and was ecstatic to receive a letter informing her that she was welcome to come study free of charge. “Lessons will be taught in Slovakian, but I do not worry, because this language is quite similar to Ukrainian,” Mariya smiles.

Mariya holds a deep gratitude for all who have helped her in life: “My heart is full of gratitude to Chalice, because my attitude towards life, my values and my goals are forever changed. I am thankful to my sponsor who has been supporting me all this time. I keep all of you in my prayers. May God bless you abundantly!”

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