In August, our charity was informed about a case which took place in a region to the south of Tbilisi. Five young fellows were caught by police; four of them were juveniles. They were accused of a robbery an a shop, but, in reality they even did not know location of the shop. Under psychological and physical violence they were forced to admit the crime in written form and the police wanted to convict them.
We met the chief prosecutor of the region, we had known him for a long time as previously he worked in Tbilisi and he helped us to solve many cases related to street children. During our meeting we told him the case and persuaded him that his subordinates got the confession of the crime by force. After re-investigation of the case, children were declared innocent. One of these fellows had passed the National examinations and without our assistance he would not be able to start university study 15th of September of this year. The court case was raised against violator policemen.
Very often the first contact we have with the teenagers we help is when they are in trouble with the police. We make sure that they are treated fairly in the justice system. Once released, we are able to help some young people to resolve difficulties with their family so that they can go back home, or at least to find other relatives ready to look after them. When a happy ending isn’t as straightforward we need to be able to provide a home, food and either training or employment. With winter on its way, we know that more teenagers will be coming to us from the streets hoping for a hot meal. We need your help to make sure that no-one is turned away hungry.
A week ago, the single mother of one of the long term residents of our shelter for homeless teenagers died. Her son's name is Bachi and she leaves him and five sisters, who had nowhere to go but to our shelter. As they are under age we will be looking to see what options the State might offer and then make a decision as to whether the girls would be better off with the option or not. If unsatisfactory, of course we will continue to care for the girls ourselves. We have started on their rehabilitation (alas the family and school/no school life they had had was extremely dysfunctional).
Thank goodness that, with the help of St Gregory's Foundation, we have our own house so that these girls have somewhere to go. Our shelter is only a family sized house, now rather overcrowded, but it is better than the streets.
So here are the residents of Mkurnali House:
Our policy to never turn teenagers away when they are in desperate need is being stretched to the limit. We are so grateful to all our supporters, both in Tbilisi and those we have never met around the world, and we trust that you will share our compassion for these newly orphaned children. Can you donate today to help us feed them?
Aged just 16, Eka* was left alone in one of the province of Georgia. Her father left family when she was a kid. Single mother had to take care of 4 underage children; in order to survive the mother was begging in the street, one day she invited friends at home to celebrate the birthday one of her children. The party was going to finish when one of the guest, who was drug addicted, stealthily from other guest took drug. Unfortunately, the dose of drug turned to be mortal and he died. When police came they took the mother and arrested her without proper investigation. No volunteer had been found to take care of children, they started begging and selling icons in the streets of the province.
One day, when Eka, the main character of our story, finished her working day and was going home some young man run after her, he assaulted her and intended to rape her. For safety reason she used to carry small knife in her pocket and in order to defense herself she used the knife and wounded violator and run away. Police caught the girl and sentenced to a suspended sentence. Once a week she had to visit probation office. One day when she visited the office, the officer locked the door and ordered her to get naked she managed to slip from his hand, opened the window and jumped. She decided to leave the province and run to Tbilisi. When she came in Tbilisi she started begging and acquainted with street children. Once, one of the street children called to our office and asked us immediately come to their place as one girl was very ill. We went there and this was how we met Eka, we took her to the hospital and helped her to recover. When she was released from hospital we took her to our organization. After some time, the police officer called to our office and told us that they had an information about the girl and ask us to take her to police office. We immediately contacted our lawyer and together went to police station, the case was investigated again and with our assistance Eka was justified in 25 days. The girl started learning handicraft in our organization. She was taught sewing. After some time she decided to go back to her home town. She returned there and started working in sewing firm, she sews carpets, soon she met a nice fellow and got married.
Her life totally changed with our help, she is employed and happily married.
Life on the streets is never easy. You can help other teenagers escape this life like Eka did by helping our shelter buy food for them. If you donate on Wednesday 12th June, GlobalGiving will add 40% to your donation so it will buy even more food for us. This applies to all donations up to $1,000 made through globalgiving.org (not the UK site) after 9am EDT (2pm in UK) until midnight EDT or when matching funds run out
* We have changed the name and don't use a photo to protect our client's anonymity.
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 andtold 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.
Last week, Nino Chubabria, director of the Mkurnali project for homeless teens in Tbilisi, received a call at midnight to go and collect two boys who were about to be released from prison there and then. She went with the charity's lawyer, who has secured the release not only of these two, but also of a third prisoner in the previous week. All three owe their freedom to a government amnesty, but also to the utterly professional and committed work of the Mkurnali lawyer, who is paid by St Gregory's Foundation. The residents at the Mkurnali house laid on a special meal to make the three new arrivals feel welcome. The lawyer continues to work on behalf of eight more young prisoners, who the lawyer has successfully proved have been unjustly imprisoned so that they can benefit from a government amnesty.
We are delighted that Mkurnali is able to offer these boys a home and a new start in life, and we are also grateful to you for your help. Obviously, three more residents means three more mouths to feed. For them release from prison is just the start. They need time to gain vocational training and ultimately a job. In the meantime, with your help, Mkurnali will continue to look after them.
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