After relocating to the United States with her mother when she was just an infant, Sofia spent 13 years living in Virginia. At age 15, then in ninth grade, she was duped by her mother and step-father into traveling back to her hometown in Siberia, Russia. She thought she was traveling for a week during spring break, instead, upon her arrival, Sofia’s mother told her it was a one-way ticket and that her mother cancelled her green card application. She was now to live with her biological father in Novosibirsk. But her father was an alcoholic and abusive, so Sofia found herself living on the streets in an unfamiliar country, without speaking the language, and no money.
Determined to survive, she did everything she could to find shelter and food. Sofia also wanted to earn her high school diploma, but she did not speak a word of Russian and she couldn’t complete the classes in the local curriculum.
With CVI’s support and involvement, Sofia found safe living arrangements and was able to complete an online education, earning a US GED diploma. She eventually found her way to Morocco, where she enrolled into a British university, earning her diploma with honors in Business Management.
CVI coordinated support of basic needs and offered her an educational scholarship and mentorship. Along the way, Sofia wrote articles, taught English classes, and developed multiple social relationships.
Today, Sofia lives in Dubai, UAE. She works as a corporate recruiter and continues to teach English language skills to children and adults with varying skill levels. “Children’s Voice helped me to reach my educational goals and to understand that I am strong and have a voice in my future.”
Sofia remains connected to CVI, advising the organization and at times, is willing to serve as a mentor to other children stuck in difficult situations. The same determination that helped her survive as a teenager, is helping her thrive as an adult.