Sisters, Zoya (12) and Anna (16) Chizhkova and Vitaly Tolochkin (12), all residents of the “Unity” Children’s Center in the town of Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky (pop. 12,000) joined the singing competition on Russian station NTV. Zoya and Vitaly were promoted to the finals in Moscow.
Here you can see Anna’s performance, as well as Zoya’s. (Unfortunately, there is no video of Vitaly, but the next post has a photo of him.)
Zoya’s video also includes the post-performance conversation all the contestants have with the judges. This chat, however, concludes with a heart-warming surprise for Zoya and Anna, for they were given a chance to see their mother for the first time in six years. This reunion appears at around 9:40 in the video. (NOTE: most children in the “Children’s Centers” are not true orphans, but, like Zoya and Anna, children whose parents have lost legal rights due to criminal behavior, substance abuse and other reasons.)
I learned about this wonderful story from someone in Chita quite unconnected to our work in Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky. Here is her email to me alerting us to the news. Keep in mind that Petrovsk is very small and very far, even from Chita:
Do you know that 3 children from the asylum participated in the singing contest held by NTV channel…That’s a great event for them and for many Zabaikalians. I think you’ll be glad too!
We are anxious to learn how Zoya and Vitaly did in Moscow! Stay tuned!