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.
May 11, 2015

My child's world

Summer capm season start soon - with your help Sunflower project 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.

Our orphanage-leavers learn how to become real parents for their children, to cope with the challenges and forge family bonds. Our colleguaes and voluneers from Sunflower developed summer programmes for young parents, which provides professional councelling and support - and what a joy to spend time with your child and to learn to understand what parenting skills mean.

Young families socialize and share their experience, success and sometimes failures, recognise how talented their children are and how to help them to develope their creative sklls -dancing, music and art skills.

Some of the young people have found the way to rebuid relationship with their siblings and their distant families.

We truly hope that our project helps them to value their own families.

 

It is a goodtime to help to our young families in  Mother's Day on May 10th with your gift aid, and get a fantastic matching of your donation on  Bonus Day on May 13th- Global Giving is matching EVERY eligible donation!

Thank you so much.This is your ooportunity to truly make a difference in our young parents - orphanage leavers's lives. I hope that you will take the opportunity.

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Mar 18, 2015

Help us reach more street children in Tbilisi

Giorgi with our new donated moped
Giorgi with our new donated moped

You have been helping us feed our residents, all twenty of them, helping us give them a future off the streets and out of prison.  You might not realise it, but you've also been helping us reach out to teenagers who are still homeless in Tbilisi.  We'd like to tell you how two former street children are playing a vital role in reaching out to teenagers still living on the streets.  Jemal and Giorgi both benefitted from our help when they lived on the streets, now they work for our charity helping others.

Jemal remembers how Mkurnali first made contact with him:

The first time I ended up in the streets I got to know some children who lived there and they offered me to spend the night with them. I was hungry and it was quite cold. The children were sitting at a tube that was coming out of a Metro where there was warm coming out and they were waiting for some Nino and Eka. ‘They will come soon and they will bring food and hot cups of tea with them’, said “Vampira”, the boy I became friends with first. They actually arrived soon but instead of Nino and Eka they were Nino and Manana Mgaloblishvili (my daughter’s godmother) –’Manana asked her Armenian friend to make you stuffed vine leaves and brought you sleeping bags. Make sure you look after them.’  This was the first interaction I had with Mkurnali.

Now Jemal works for Mkurnali.  He shops and cooks for residents at Mkrunali’s house, makes sure there are no conflicts between the residents and keep the place clean.  With Giorgi he continues Mkurnali’s outreach work.  Giorgi explains:

“4-5 times  a week, Jemal and I go to places we know with a moped trunk full of sandwiches for children, we talk to them asking if they have encountered any problems. We invite them to Mkurnali and we show them the living space. We suggest they stay if they are planning to sleep in the street that night and to come here in the afternoon to eat and take part in the educational programs. I think the children have a good time with us. “

The generosity of the Global Giving community makes this outreach possible.  You are helping buy the food and pay a modest salary to one of our helpers, who not only seeks out street children needing assistance, but also helps look after our residents.

Both Jemal and Giorgi are very proud of working for our charity, Mkurnali.  Jemal says, “I know a few handicrafts and I’m not afraid of tomorrow. For this I have to thank you and Mkurnali for letting me work here. I am trying to justify your confidence in me and I hope I justify the confidence that the children Giorgi and I meet in the streets  have in us.  They are as happy to see us, and are waiting for us, as we were waiting for Nino and Eka or Manana, or someone else from Mkurnali. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to be Mkurnali’s official colleague.”

If you want to see this work continue, and would like to see your donation go further than usual, you can donate today, Wednesday 18th March, when Global Giving will be adding 30% to donations (NB this is not available to UK donors donating via globalgiving.co.uk). Bonus day starts at 9am EDT and continues while funds last.

Mar 12, 2015

You helped a Russian "orphan" find her mother

Whether you get on with them or not, knowing who your family is helps you know who you are.  Like most people who grew up in Russian orphanages, the parents we support usually have a family although they might have lost touch completely.  At our last summer camp one of our themes was our family tree, we talked about how our parents feel about their parents and wider family and about how they can get in touch and mend relationships.  We are pleased to say that when we got back to St Petersburg, several members of our group were able to start renewing links with their birth families.

Six months before the summer camp, Elena found her birth mother.  They talked on the phone and Elena told her mother all she knows about her life since she went to live in a children's home at birth.  She asked if they could meet so she could "see if there was a likeness", but her mother was scared and refused to meet.  Elena was very angry and didn't want to talk to her any more.  In our sessions at the summer camp she was able to work through her feelings, and by the end, she said she understood why her mother might have refused and was ready to wait until her mother could talk to her.  Three months after the summer camp was over, Elena's mother called her and asked to meet her and Elena's son, her grandson.

Valeria was in a children's home from the age of five when her parents died. She was the youngest daughter in the family and her relatives decided to put her in the home.  They took her at weekends, but her brother and sister and the rest of the family teased her because she was an "orphan".  As she grew up Valeria started to refuse to go to her family at weekends and lost touch with them.  She felt very angry towards them.  After our session at the summer camp, she tracked down her middle sister and got back in touch.  Now they often spend the weekends together and her sister comes round to play with Valeria's daughter.  Valeria is very happy that she took the initiatie to renew the relationship and says that she and her sister are very close.  

Finding out where they come from and making peace with the family that abandoned them helps our group find peace within themselves.  It also helps them to think more positively about the whole idea of family and about themselves.  All this makes it easier to bring up the next generation understanding their past and secure in the knowledge that it won't be repeated. We want to thank you for setting the ball rolling by contributing to our summer camps and giving us space to work through these big issues.

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