St Gregory's Foundation

St Gregory's Foundation works in Russia and the former Soviet Union to tackle the social problems facing children, teenagers, parents and carers. Our projects address the root causes of disadvantage by putting families before institutions, strengthening a sense of responsibility in young and old alike and providing opportunities for vulnerable people to fulfill their potential. Our work makes our beneficiaries active participants in improving their own lives and encourages a more charitable society.
Mar 12, 2013

Number of teenagers in Tbilisi shelter doubles

One evening about ten days ago our shelter for homeless teenagers received a telephone call from the prison authorities to tell them that 12 youngsters were going to be discharged over the next few days.  As usual, no provision had been made as to where they might go from the prison gates, and as usual Mkurnali agreed to accept them.   They were let out in stages  - first one, then two, and finally eight all at once  -  around midnight.   A small group of resident teenagers accompanied a member of Mkurnali's staff to greet the young people as they emerged,  while the others made the house ready for the arrival of their new companions and prepared some celebratory food.  Mkurnali's numbers were thus doubled without warning literally overnight!  

We made space for the new arrivals in our attic and are working hard now to find them work.  We have already found a job for one boy who was released in January. but it is a difficult task.  We have also set up a football team to help the boys fill their free time.

Meanwhile, we have also sheltered two single fathers, both of them former prisoners. While one of them  was in prison his “wife” handed their child to an orphanage.  After being released this young man got his son out of the Orphanage and now both of them live with us.  The other young man was contacted by his child’s grandfather and
told him that the baby’s mother has gotten married and that he doesn’t have enough money to care about the baby. The grandfather threatened to take the child to an orphanage. Of course we took the baby and now the child lives with his father at out shelter.

So we are now full to bursting with 27 teenagers and five babies and toddlers to look after.  Fortunately, if you donate tomorrow, Wednesday 13th March after 9am EDT or 1pm GMT your donation will also stretch further because the wonderful people at Global Giving are adding 30% to donations while funds last.   Please note that this offer is only active if you donate via Globalgiving.org (http://goto.gg/10666), not the UK site. 




 

Feb 25, 2013

How your donation helped hearing impaired Fedya

Fedya
Fedya

Fedya first came to our club in September 2012 with his mum.  This was a difficult time for her as tried to come to terms with Fedya's hearing impairment.  In January they started to come to the club regularly and since then they have both changed.  Fedya is very curious about the world around him, and his mother helps him with everything.

As well as organised group games to encourage the children to listen, the club also uses finger painting and toys to interact with the children in more natural situations as you can see in our video.  They are encouraged to listen and to respond with signs and words if they have started to talk.  Parents who don't have any hearing problems can find it difficult to communicate with their hearing-impaired child.  These sessions help the parents as much as the children by strengthening communication between them.

It costs £13/$20 to put on a play and painting session for 15 children and their parents.  Your donation could help Fedya go to a mainstream kindergarten one day.

Links:

Feb 20, 2013

Our Russian orphanage-leavers are making progress.

 "I talk to you and I feel that I exist, that I'm alive.  Before, I had to get beaten up to feel anything." 

Our orphanage-leavers are making progress at the deepest, most painful level as Dima's comment makes so clear.  Dima is just 17.  We are so grateful to you for making it possible to provide them with the counselling they need to do so.  Can you imagine what kind of a life Dima would lead if no-one cared enough to help him deal with this trauma? 

We have been working hard with our group of orphans in the first year of technical college.  Having been abandoned by their parents, these young people have learnt not to trust adults.  After testing the boundaries, they realise now that our colleagues are genuinely interested in them, and that they aren't going anywhere.  Now the group are happy to talk more openly about their experiences.  Now that everyone has grown to trust each other, we take them on outings to art workshops run by friends of ours.  It's a very important way of introducing the group to new people, new experiences, and to travelling independently on public transport. 

With the older group, who will leave the orphanage at the end of the year, we are talking a great deal about their new homes, how they will look after their home, and what they will do there.  Strange thought it might seem, despite the difficulties of orphanage life, most of the residents are terrified of leaving.  Knowing nothing else, they think only of ways of prolonging their studies so they can stay on, or how they can live and work with their friends from the orphanage and try to recreate the atmosphere.  It is difficult for them to confront these feelings, so we hold an art workshop with them regularly to help them express and deal with their negative emotions. 

We have also been making progress with the staff at the orphanage, who have been attending seminars.  They take an interest in our work and several times have asked us to help them resolve conflicts with the young people. 

We must help this valuable progress continue, so that our young people are able to face life after the orphanage with confidence.  If you'd like to make an ongoing commitment to our orphanage-leavers, the wonderful people at Global Giving give you the possibility of setting up a regular donation through their site.  If you set up a monthly donation via globalgiving.org you may even have your donation matched.  Regular giving is really fantastic, because it means we can promise our young people that we will continue to be there for them while they need us.

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
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