This week I have an epistle from Natasha. I’m going to give you my translation of her letter. On my website you can read from all the UTSIM staff as well as the Ukrainian version of Natasha’s letter.

My name is Natalia Kurilko, I am 24 years old. God blessed me with a good husband and two young children (Liliya - 3 years, Denis - 6 months) and a responsible job, which I love - working as the Deputy General Director of UTSIM.

What're included in my responsibilities? Many different things: for example I am responsible for accounting, for the correct calculation and payment of all taxes and reports for state bodies, organizing all legal documents for foreigners who work at UTSIM, including their registration in Ukraine, etc. And after our CEO, Jonathan Miller, left us for Australia, in all documents I am the CEO of UTSIM, although it’s not really me. For all significant financial decisions Neil has taken the responsibility for 1 year, and he is a volunteer at UTSIM.

UTSIM has 4 legal workers: Svetlana, Masha and I (in Rzhyshchiv) and only one Lyena (in Kaharlyk); 2 volunteers (Simeon and Neil) and 2 foreigners paid on contract (Shane and Sergey). So we have 8 people and 6 of us receive an income from UTSIM. Overall I can confidently say that for almost all of us, the salary is low. In October 2010 the average salary of an employee was 973 UAH. The state minimum wage is 907 UAH. In general terms, for 1 month UTSIM spends about 7 400 on staff salaries, 4000 on taxes (in Ukraine there is a lot of corruption in government, resulting in huge taxes for ordinary people), 3000 for rent. Just these costs (14 400) exceed our revenue from customers (monthly income of 11-12 000 UAH). And in addition to these costs we also have variable monthly costs, such as in October: buying textbooks for children 800, stationery 300, trips to Kyiv and Kaharlyk 200, bank charges 100, internet and telephone calls 100. So right now UTSIM is not a profitable company and is like a small child, which requires considerable dedication of our employees in time, our effective work, an increase in funding from customers, or any other additional funding. We try to work efficiently, as working for God. But with this problem I do not want to increase the tuition fees for children in Rzhyshchiv – it is certainly not appropriate (parents cannot pay more because they are often earning minimum wages). So, in my opinion, to support Rzhyshchiv and keep UTSIM running as it is now, we need to develop and become more profitable in other cities, or seek additional funding from sponsors, or raise tuition. If we raise tuition then I think we’d lose 30 students or more and we will not need three teachers, one would be enough. Rent in Rzhyshchiv is 2000 - another big minus.

Neil and I have thought about the best options for UTSIM. Of all the teaching, the most financially effective is the work of Lyena Lyubchenko in Kaharlyk. We are likely to develop UTSIM in other cities such as Kaharlyk. Now we rent one room in Kaharlyk for 1000 a month, and yesterday, God opened our doors wider – 3 rooms for 1 900 (including utilities and internet). So please pray for a second teacher in Kaharlyk, for new customers, for furniture in Kaharlyk (2 rooms completely empty), and 1 table for Rzhyshchiv. I also dream of a licensed copy of 1S Accounting – for 3 years now I’ve been using a pirated copy, which is outdated and does not save my time (a new copy now costs 1 000 but 3 years ago cost 20 000 UAH).

We were blessed in October with money for current needs (6 300) and 25 chairs (2 200). The first sum went to cover expenses for 2 months’ rent in Rzhyshchiv (October-November – 4 000) plus to cover expenses for taxes. And here is what happened with the chairs: for this money I found not second hand but new chairs with a promise of delivery directly to the office in Rzhyshchiv.

Personally about me: I try to do everything I can for UTSIM, working with documents mostly at night or early morning when all the other members of my family are sleeping. My oldest daughter goes to kindergarten from 08:00-17:00. I mainly work at home, sometimes I meet with state agencies, go to the UTSIM office when needed, meet with clients when needed. I keep up with all happenings and issues at UTSIM as from 09:00 to 18:00 I constantly answer phone calls from UTSIM employees and customers. It takes a lot of my own time. This additional load emerged after Jonathan Miller left. I hope that Jonathan will return to Ukraine as quickly as he can because he is a really unique person for me as a friend and as an employee of UTSIM in particular. Now all of his obligations are shared by 4 people: Neil is responsible for all the important financial decisions, Masha - for ordering books for customers and their delivery from the city of Kyiv, Shane – is responsible for the quality educational process for the students, and I am not responsible, but have to assist in solving all the current problems at UTSIM.


I’ve started getting a bit of teaching at school for which I am very grateful. It’s also really good to be able to be back in the classroom relating to students. Jeff has also enjoyed the time there.

I’ve been able to catch up with friends such as Nat, Dave, Sarah, Olya, Martin, and many others. I am blessed – thanks to you all. I also enjoyed sharing about life in Ukraine on Saturday night. I’m also glad for the technology of Skype and the ease of contact I can have with friends and loved ones in Ukraine. A part of me remains there – and I have a peace and trust that God will show me the right time to head back.


I’ve almost finished the first 200 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. This is not a lot of progress since last month.


To Poddy for being a fun guy to hang out with.

Love Jono

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