In Georgia it is New Year that is celebrated first and foremost and Christmas is more a religious celebration. Over 24 hours from New Years Eve to New Years Day we laid on a fantastic feast for our residents and other teenagers we have helped in the past, or who are still homeless. Thanks to your generosity and local donors we were able to feed a magnificent 45 young people.
Georgia is famous for its wonderful food and we put on a menu of highlights for the feast. We prepared Satsivi (a Georgian dish of turkey in walnut sauce) Gozinaki(Roasted walnuts covered with honey), red and green Pkhali (a Georgian vegetable dish), chicken salad, Olivia salad, Khachapuri (cheese pie), Lobiani (beans), cake, sweets and fruits.
The Georgian style is to set all the dishes out on the table (except the cake and sweets that are brought later) and people help themselves as they please. There is also fresh bread which is used to dip in the sauces.
It is really wonderful that we were able to give so many of our young people a New Year to remember. Thank you so much for bringing a little warmth at this festive time of year.
If you're tempted to try your hand at making some of this delicious Georgian food yourself, you can find recipes online and we've given you a link to a handy website below.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us through 2014. Your donations have helped us to feed our residents, and because of that our shelter is more attractive for homeless teenagers. However, food is only part of the story. We work hard in partnership with a range of organisations to help our residents find training placements and employment so that they can look forward to a stable future as adults.
At the moment of course we are also preparing for our New Year celebrations. The numbers living with us vary a lot, but for now we have 21 young people and 4 young children living at our shelter. At New Year we open our shelter to any homeless teenagers who want to come. We will provide a holiday dinner for as many as we can afford to feed. Jemal our chef’s assistant, our friend Eka, our lawyer and another Jemal will make the food, while our old colleague Nino Miqeladze, who is now a restaurant manager and the head of a bakery, will bake us a holiday cake. To complement our celebrations, the European Union delegation has just given us a big and beautiful Christmas tree, which will look wonderful in our shelter.
Your donation will help us to brighten up this festive period not only for our residents, already on the path to a happier future, but also for teenagers still living on the streets. Thank you for reaching out to them so generously.
We got introduced to Teona when she was 14. Just when she was released from the Children's shelter and she was on the streets again. Teona was selling flowers in the restaurants by night while she and her friends were sleeping in a basement of a wrecked building.
Teona started attending our sewing classes. Teona had 3 rooms in a communal apartment while the other 2 was owned by her neighbours who wanted to get rid of Teona so they could have her rooms and they didn’t let Teona live peacefully there. One day when Teona went home the neighbours dragged Teona into their room beat her up, called the police and said that Teona tried attacking them with a knife that she pulled out, out of her back pocket when the trousers she was wearing didn’t even have a back pocket.
The police caught Teona and the law court was deciding that they were going to give her 4 years of prison but we found out soon enough to get involved and instead of the 4 years they let Teona free. In the video (http://youtu.be/Wz_Br2b4OUY), Teona describes how frightened she was before we got involved with our legal service.
After that Teona continued sewing classes in Mkurnali and stayed overnight with us too. Teona is now married with 2 children and they live in Teona's communal 3 rooms, because after the trial the police told the neighbours to be careful with the way they treat Teona. At the moment Teona cannot use the skills she learned at Mkurnali because she has 2 children to raise but she is sewing for her own children.
You played a vital part in helping Teona get back on her feet. Our legal team and sewing teacher have given Teona a fresh start, but it was vital that Teona could stay with us while we helped her resolve the conflict in her life. We don't turn anyone away, whether they need a short respite stay, or to make us their home for a longer period. We can only do this if we can feed them, so we are very grateful to you for your help.
In our last report we told you about Beso, one of our residents, who urgently needed an operation to repair his intestines. Thanks to the generosity of the Global Giving community he has had the operation, the stitches are out and Beso is no longer in pain. Beso is very grateful to everyone who helped him and is very happy that he can lead a normal life again.
Now I'd like to tell you about Temuri, one of our newest residents. Temuri is 16 years old from a financially unstable, large family. Unfortunately his father passed away and Temuri lives with 6 brothers and sisters and is looked after by his grandmother. They live in a 12m² basement. Temuri works as a bread baker and he is the sole breadwinner. He works from 8am to 9pm; despite the work hours he comes back home and learns school material which after a month he passes with distinction. He is learning in a village school near Tbilisi where they made an exception for him.
In May when he was coming back from work he met two acquaintances, who started to laugh at him because of his old phone. As he said: " I don't know what happened to me, I got very angry and punched both of them and took the phone from the guy who was showing of his new phone to teach him a lesson and went back home. After a short while the police came knocking on my door and told me that if I gave the phone back I wouldn't get into trouble and so I gave the phone back.' After this the police arrested him for theft category 3.
Temuri's friends contacted us, because we knew them; he lives near our old Mkurnali house. Here our legal program came into action. We started working on this case straight away and asked the court to not arrest him. But they told us straight away that they couldn't help because the crime was very serious and it meant 5 to 9 years in prison and also there was a new order from parliament saying underage crime should be dealt with stricter because too much leniency went to their heads. Afterwards we wrote a document signed by our founder, Father George, to the judge of the court. In the document we wrote about the social instability of the boy's family and his love for hard work.
The judge recognised the authority of Father George and the court set him free with a suspended sentence for 5 years. Thanks to your generosity helping us to buy food, this is not the end of Temuri's journey with us. He has moved into our shelter, where he can continue working and studying while we help him overcome his problems and build a more stable life.Thank you for your part in giving Temuri a second chance.
Thank you to everyone who responded so generously to our special appeal last month. The Global Giving community responded magnificently with a record amount to add to our local contributions. Welcome to all of you who are receiving our report for the first time.
We'd like to tell you the story of one of our residents. Each one has their own story of hardship and they need us to step up and provide the care they are missing.
Beso was 10 years old when his mother died of cancer in front of him, which was a big blow to this child’s psyche. It affected him very deeply. After this he ended up on the streets. Beso liked studying so much that even when he ended up on the streets he still went to school, but because the Georgian government did not have a strategy for homeless children and because he could not buy books and proper clothes, he had to leave school. Despite all of this he would read everything he could lay his hands on.
In 2005 when the "street children" rehabilitation center opened, Beso was transferred there but the dream he had of continuing to go to school was not fulfilled there. At the age of 16 he ended up on the streets again and he was working as a builder's labourer and yet with the money he earned he bought books, journals and magazines to read before going to sleep. He could also sing amazingly well but through living on the streets he lost the hearing that affects his musical ear and so he cannot sing anymore, which still upsets him a lot.
In 2010 he was brought to "Mkurnali" and since then he has been living with us. Beso still continued to work as a builder's labourer until 28/12/13 when he came back from work in pain and we called for an ambulance and he was diagnosed with an intestinal obstruction. He had an operation in which his gut was taken partially outside which will need to be put back by the end of April. Since the first operation was an emergency and could not be postponed, it was done free of charge thanks to medical staff, but we will need to pay for the second operation, which will cost $1570.
If you would like to help Beso, you can donate via this page: www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/help-beso-receive-a-vital-operation/.
We are also looking for people to help us prepare for the next Global Giving Bonus day on May 7th. If you have 20 minutes to spare and would like to get involved, please contact Sarah Gale on email@example.com.
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