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.
Jul 8, 2015

Thank you for making it happen!

Lena and Tima, Anya and Kirill
Lena and Tima, Anya and Kirill

We've achieved our target. Our project “Summer camp for orphanage-leavers with children" is fully funded! We are deeply grateful to our supporters for making it happen!

Thanks to your generous donations the Sunflower Centre will be taking ten families with fifteen children between them away for a week of intensive parenting support in the idyllic setting of a log cabin deep in the countryside. Over the years up to 35 families with 60 children have benefited from this projects. 

This project is a part of the programme “My child's world", run by the Sunflower Centre. The Centre is unusual in not giving hand-outs to orphanage-leavers. Instead they encourage them to take control of their lives, improve their relationships and solve their own problems.

Families who regularly attend activities of the programme are invited to a family camp-site, which is 360 km from the city - Novgorod region, Hvoyninsky District, a sparsely populated village called Dolbeniki. Natural conditions - nearby forest, the lake and the river have a huge positive and holistic impact on the emotional, psychological and physical condition of children and parents. The new environment-  a wooden house with a Russian stove, a dormitory with bunk beds, a dining room and a sauna, a large gardening area - helps to engage each member of the camp community and acknowledge their personal contribution to the day-by-day vital activity of the camp.

Your donations will support individual and group work with families like Lena's and Anya's, which is aimed at the emotional and psychological rehabilitation of the family, teaching essential parenting and life skills. One of the forms of such rehabilitation is engaging parents and children in art therapy sessions, in creative workshops, games and walks in the local neighbourhood.

Trust, care and a warm friendly atmosphere in the camp will help our young parents to thrive and grow and to value family bonds. Their children learn to play, develop and communicate without restrictions through a series of cultural, sport and outdoor events. Both parents and children discover the joy and understanding of a family and our specialists (teachers, psychologists) and volunteers accompany and help young families to get through difficulties and learn parenting skills.  

As a result their children’s health improves, their vocabulary expands, and they are more likely to start kindergarten. Most importantly, the cycle of neglect and deprivation is broken.

We know that many people are concerned for children in Russian orphanages, but we need to raise awareness that this is a largely preventable problem.  We've reached the target to raise funds for this year, but we'll increase the goal of the project again to start raising funds for next year.

We are very grateful to any of our supporters who can help spread the word via friends, family and their networks. You can find the latest news from our Russian partners on our website or following us on Facebook.

There is a special opportunity for donations made to our work through Global Giving on July 15th - the largest Bonus Day of the year - when they will provide matching funds of 50% of the value of your donation. 50% more for us and you won't need to pay a penny more!

Thank you again for being with us on this journey to success,

With gratitude,

Julia Ashmore

Camp Centre
Camp Centre
Jun 8, 2015

You are important as you really are

Thank you for being with us and keeping our project running for one more year. Your support and generosity help our long-term programme “My tomorrow” to build and develop the lives of young people, graduates from children’s homes in St. Petersburg.

Our programme for young people is a special one. How long does it take you to grow a beautiful plant from a seed? How much of your time and efforts do you spend, thinking that tomorrow you will see a great result of your work?

“My tomorrow” is such a project – it helps teenagers and young people without family support and very little life experience to step into life, to grow and develop their personalities and find their place in society.

This year the project offered support up to 30 teenagers and young people: 40 % of whom had no contact with their families or relatives. All of our young people-beneficiaries find it extremely difficult to deal with day-to-day planning and feel insecure about adapting to society – they receive very limited knowledge of life skills in orphanages and children’s homes. Now young graduates, some living in hostels, some sharing flats with siblings or distant relatives, struggle to identify their future path.

Over the last several years, Sunflower Centre has offered intensive courses of counselling, individual and group sessions and training with social service specialists and physiologists for teenagers and young people from very different backgrounds: 13 % in work, 13% - receiving higher education in institutes/universities, 46% - on vocational training and about 26% undecided or hesitant about their future study/work.

One of the most essential tasks of this training was to motivate and teach young people to deal with everyday life. Training sessions included talks and practical advice on how to communicate, to feel secure and self-motivated, how to stay positive and learn to communicate, and offered practical guidance on life and domestic skills. Other project activities included creative workshops, organising events, while for the summer period the project will offer hiking and other outdoor activities.

Our excellent team of Sunflower specialists (teachers, physiologists, social service workers, tutors) help young people to overcome inertia and motivate them to find a suitable job after graduating from colleges or receiving vocational training. The majority of young people had a negative experience or lack of interest in their jobs as usually their profession was chosen for them (but rather by staff of orphanages/children’s homes). At the same time the young people get confused and feel insecure about possible changes – as a result of the experience they have been received in orphanages and children’s homes – with the main idea not to move on with their lives. One of the girls, Katya speaks to us:

"Irealised that I am bored here and my job isannoying(Katia works as a cleanerin the orphanage, whereshewas apupil), but in contrast to a new job everyone in the orphanage shows thatthey worry and pity for me, are interested to hear about my life, andalso tryto pay betterwages, not like everywhere.”

This is a common position for many of our young people. They are afraid to know the world around them and prefer to “play safe” and return to familiar surroundings, even if they are capable for much more.

Our project offers and helps young people to recognise their personality and to celebrate their differences. One of our teenagers, Taras, who was a very reserved and emotionally closed young man, has shared with us how he feels now: “I feel relaxed at our training and feel good and positive about myself, when I talk to our tutor”

Our young people say the project helps them to be realistic and sincere about themselves. Thus, Semen, who has found a job, couldn’t cope with the work at the beginning and blamed the company, colleagues, and friends for his failure. As a result, he left work later on, unable to comply with all the conditions. He was offended by friends who told him that it was his fault that he could not hold a job. Semen decided to get help from Sunflower and visited our training and got individual help from our tutors. Two months later he successfully applied for the same job, where he works until now.

This January one of our orphanage-leavers, now mother of three, Galina, has started to work as a tutor at a group session for teenagers. Her tutor’s advice, personal experience and similar start as a graduate from the orphanage are highly appreciated by her students and we congratulate Sunflower and its excellent team with the results they have achieved this year.

You are important as you really are – say all our young people to each other in Sunflower Centre. We hope that your support will mean this great work can continue in the future.

 

Galina
Galina

Links:

Jun 8, 2015

The loving family of Mkurnali

Over the last years, our project Mkurnali in Tbilisi has become more than just a home/shelter for disadvantaged children and young people from the streets of Tbilisi.

More than 400 young people have passed their rehabilitation process, received vocational training and domestic skills and have successfully built independent lives.

They could not do it without your help and support which Mkurnali receives through Global Giving. Your generosity and kind donations help us to keep this project running and developing.

Nino Tchubabria, Director of Mkurnali, shares the latest news from Tbilisi:

“The money that we get from Global Giving helps us to provide essential needs and feed our permanent residents of Mkurnali: 21 young adults and 4 children; and also the project continues to feed and attract more and more hungry teenagers.

Thanks to St. Gregory’s Foundation support, Jemal has started part time work in Mkurnali and helps us with running of day-by-day tasks.

 In Mkurnali the residents are allowed to be more than just disadvantaged street children - this year 18 teenagers became students at foundation courses, learning basic and so necessary studies: writing, spelling, maths, etc. with the help and co-operation of MAC (McLain Association for Children). With the help of Caritas Georgia, one of our girls has started to learn hairdressing and carpet sewing.

 Beso, who recovered after his surgery, has been employed by a construction company as a grinder and painter; he is alive thanks to your help and funds collected though Global Giving, which covered a bill for his surgery. He has a job now and recently met a wonderful girlfriend Maria.

 Some of our young people have also succeeded in job searches: one of the boys works as a chef’s assistant in “ Oqros Katxa” restaurant, 2 boys work in a the city’s cleaning company and one has a job as a landscape gardener thanks to support of Tinatin Shelia.  

 It is very encouraging to know that 3 young people will soon learn how to enamel jewellery at the “Ornament” gallery, with the help of MAC; later they plan to teach other children who want to learn enamelling at Mkurnali’s workshop. These young people look forward to starting a small business in the future and we hope that the Ornament gallery will help them to get employed and receive a stable income.

 Giorgi has been called up for military service three days a week, but he still remains a good supporter to Mkurnali , delivering food by moped which we have bought with your help !”

 Our project in Georgia has a remarkable atmosphere and brings the emotional and social support to young people they would be given by a loving family. A few days ago we have received this joyous news from Nino:

“Natia got married and now lives in a very good family. The family love her as their own child. Mkurnali has helped Natia to get married according to Georgian tradition, we’ve prepared her dowry: Duvet covers, pillows and dishes and a bed. Natia’s husband has 4 siblings. The family plans to buy 10 cows so they can start their own business. They already have a shed and other buildings needed for a dairy business, and we will support them in any way we can”.

We sincerely congratulate Natia and Mkurnali, and celebrate all the recent successes. More than just a project, this has truly become the loving family of Mkurnali. 

Thank you so much for being a part of it and we hope we can continue this great work with your support!

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