St Gregory's Foundation

St Gregory's Foundation works in Russia and Georgia 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.
Dec 14, 2016

The story of Buratino

Maxim and his Mum
Maxim and his Mum

Thanks to you, Sunflower was able to run two camps.  One for families with children aged over eight, and a second for families with pre-school children.  Both were held at Sunflower's log cabin deep in the beautiful Russian countryside.  This year, they had proper washing and laundry facilities after SGF helped them to renovate their banya (or traditional Russian sauna).

We don't have space to tell you all the wonderful changes that our families experienced in these short breaks, so we'll concentrate on two stories that give you an idea of how vital these camps are.

Lena, Sunflower's director describes one stand out session with the older children and their parents.

"We asked our group to choose a fairy story in which there was a problem between children and their parents.  They chose the story of Buratino, which is a loosely based on the Pinocchio story.  Through role play, our families resolved Buratino and Papa Karlo's main problem, that Buratino was naughty and he and his father didn't understand each other.  

While they were playing the roles the genuine worries of our parents and their children came to the surface.  One boy, who was playing Buratino, said, "I don't do what Papa Karlo says, because I don't feel that he loves me."  For his parents this revelation came like a bolt out of the blue.  The conversation turned to all the proofs that Papa Karlo loves Buratino, "but what about the books he bought you, the clothes that he spent his last Rouble on!"  The parents were genuinely troubled and offended and called Buratino's behaviour ungrateful.  The story reflected the reality of our families' lives.  The parents who grew up in orphanages show their love through material things.  When they were little sponsors would give them little presents and they were grateful for even these small tokens of care and attention.  Sadly, they find it difficult to show their emotions, which is what their children are looking for.  

When we opened out the discussion to the group who had been watching the role-play, the ten-year old son of one of the volunteers said to Buratino, "When you ask Papa Karlo for love, you have to take a risk and open your heart up too love, otherwise you will always stay wooden".  After he had said that Papa Karlo turned to Buratino and asked "What can I do for you?".  Buratino answered, "Take my hand and look me in the eye."

Andrei, who was playing Papa Karlo, said, "This role play of Papa Karlo really made me think for several days.  Our whole family has been shaken up by it as if we made everything new.  Now my heart doesn't seem to fit in my chest, it's so overflowing with feelings for my children and my wife." "

The next story can be told best in pictures.  They show the progress that Maxim and his mother made during our play therapy sessions.  At first Maxim can't look at his mum while she plays simple games with him.  What a transformation you'll see as the six sessions progress!

These training sessions are fun, but also an opportunity for intensive work on family relationships.  They give our families a chance to heal rifts caused by the parents' traumatic upbringing. Thank you for being with us this year - our families wish you a warm and happy Christmas and New Year!

Please consider making a donation during this Christmas Campaign which ends 31st December - Global Giving UK is matching donations by 50%, up to £600 until funds last. This campaign offers £20 000 and  £4500 in prizes and bonuses -  this is a great chance to raise more free funds for our camps next year. Thank you!

Nov 29, 2016

November news from Georgia

Nino, Inga, the lawyer and a resident of Mkurnali
Nino, Inga, the lawyer and a resident of Mkurnali

Thanks to your support to Mkurnali we are able to provide food, shelter and education to our residents. Today we would like to tell you about the latest developments with our legal programme and what we do to help our young people who have got in trouble with the police.  

In October and November we were able to help resolve 6 legal cases. Two charges were for ‘resistance to police’, which is punished by a 2000 Georgian Lari fine or time in jail. Both cases ended with an absolute discharge. 1 case was ‘hooliganism’, which  receives a sentence of up to three years of jail. We negotiated with the plaintiff and the case was closed without any charges. 2 cases were for theft: 1 case was of part involvement in a theft which can result in 4-7 years in prison. We have reached a plea bargain with the prosecution and the convict has been sentenced with one year in a penal institution and 1 year suspended sentence without any fine. The second theft case was partial involvement in a theft which is sentenced by 1-3 years of jail. The case is under investigation, during which time the suspect is on personal bail outside prison. We are monitoring him and hope he will eventually become involved in Mkurnali programs for rehabilitation.

Mkurnali’s other main focus of activity is on the growth and popularisation of its enamel jewellery production to give work and income to the residents. Lately we took part in many exhibitions. It important to note that the US Embassy organised a folk craft exhibition, where our works successfully competed with our enamel teacher company “Gallery Ornament”. We sold more works than any other participants in the fair. The shop located inside the embassy has offered us a corner for our enamel work. 

In October we had a visitor – a director of St. Gregory Foundation - Dr. Tamara Dragadze. On behalf of the Foundation she placed an order of 20 pieces of work which we had already created. Also with the help of the Foundation she bought us an Ultrasound machine for polishing the silver so that the Mkurnali residents should no longer cut their fingers using a wire brush. The International Women’s Association here in Tbilisi has given us a little help and on December 3 we plan to take part in the Christmas fair organised by them.

We were happy that these two months seemed peaceful and productive, but sadly a horrible accident happened – our resident Beso Mnatobishvili was lost. Global Giving had helped us pay for his operation some time ago and he was in excellent health ever since. Beso had found his much older brother who had been raised separately from him. On October 4, he brought him to our shelter in order to show him old furniture that we planned to give him as gift. (The EU’s Georgian office gave us new furniture recently).

Afterwards, Beso accompanied his brother and did not return.  We looked for him but not even his brother knew anything about his whereabouts. Sadly, after 22 days the Mtkvari River, which runs through the city, washed his body ashore. What happened? We still don’t know. The police are investigating the case as murder, having excluded suicide. We plan to investigate this case to the bottom and find out the truth. In the meantime his Mkurnali family will be arranging the best funeral we can and find some way always to remember him.

Please consider making a donation - Global Giving is offering a 50% match on donations made on #GivingTuesday, November 29th up to the first $1 million raised on GlobalGiving.org. They have $500,000 in matching funds made available courtesy of generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the largest amount of matching funds GlobalGiving has ever had in one day and a wonderful chance to make your donation even larger.

 

 

 

Nov 29, 2016

How you can help little Ulyana to become an artist

Ulyana and her Mum
Ulyana and her Mum

Our club works successfully and is in great demand – we continue to support two groups: one for deaf children and their deaf parents and the group for impaired hearing children and their parents who can hear. This year we have welcomed some very tiny patients – Sasha and Esther who are only 10 months old. Our other toddlers are from 1 year to 3 years old - some of them came from multi-child families with three or four children whose parents struggle to find suitable services in the town which can help to detect a child’s ability to hear in their early age.  

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, those families who attended the Club some time ago, came back to us after they could not find other services to help them develop and prepare their child for mainstream school. Some time ago we helped Savva, who has a cochlear implant, learn how to speak. Since then he came back and continues to attend our group – as a result he made big progress which allowed him to enrol in one of the mainstream schools and we are proud that he continues his study there. We hope that Emil who is now 15 months old and who started pronouncing his first sounds, will be able to repeat Savva’s success.

The play and music therapy won’t help on their own without the support of the parents. It is their strong motivation that makes the whole project successful. Ulyana’s Mum is hearing impaired like her daughter but this obstacle does not stop them communicating with other families in a similar situation. They both have cochlear implants. Ulyana is actively using short sounds, words and gestures and has all the encouragement from her Mum and Grandmother at home when she demonstrates her little successes to them. Her Grandmother says that Ulyana anticipates each visit to the Deaf Club and can’t wait for the moment to join her friends at play, to climb the slide and jump. She particularly enjoys drawing and introduces Mum to sit near her at the table and draw together and smiles happily demonstrating her pictures to all of us. We very much hope that Ulyana can make as fine an artist as her Mum who is an artist and textile designer.

We are able to introduce children like Savva, Emil, Ulyana and 30 other toddlers with impaired hearing into the world of sounds thanks to your support to the Deaf Club. Your help opens a wonderful world of opportunities to children born with disabilities.

Please consider making a donation today-  Global Giving is offering a 50% match on donations made on #GivingTuesday, November 29th up to the first $1 million raised on GlobalGiving.org. They have $500,000 in matching funds made available courtesy of generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the largest amount of matching funds GlobalGiving has ever had in one day and a wonderful chance to make your donation even larger.

 

    

 

 

 
   

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