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.
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.

 

    

 

 

Nov 28, 2016

How the Russian orphans helped at an animal shelter

Our young people who have grown up in orphanages are used to one-sided relationships in which they get attention from sponsors, the state and volunteers. By contrast, we have offered them volunteering experience. We explained how animal shelters work and sparked their interest in voluntary work with homeless animals.

This needed some advanced preparation: the teenagers had to think about what to take with them to the animal sanctuary, bearing in mind not all food is safe for animals to eat. Some of the teenagers were apprehensive and some were frightened by the experience: “I can’t look at them, I’ll cry. It’s too sad,” said Olga. Similar worries helped other teenagers realise the purpose of the visit, namely our participation, interest and care towards homeless animals.

At the shelter they didn’t just interact with the animals: they became actively helpful to the staff there. All the participants in the group, supported by the staff, helped to tidy up the cattery.

The part that engaged our young people the most was walking the dogs. In turn they could take a few dogs out for a walk and a few of them quickly became the children’s favourites. Tanya was very excited: “It’s my dog! I want to take him home with me!”. This was a very positive and unifying moment for everyone from the group. They laughed a lot, shared their emotions and hugged the dogs.

It was an entirely safe experience for our teenagers, filled on all sides with honest warmth and happiness. Even those who were afraid of the dogs took part and stroked the animals, talked to them and stayed near them.

The happiness of being with the animals turned to sadness when they had to leave. We let the teenagers know that the shelter is open to the public and that they could come here independently – and it would be great if they could make a habit out of it. At the end of the day Tania  “I am so relaxed. I wish it was always like this! I’m really happy, this is my dream! If it wasn’t for this I don’t know what I would have been doing today.”

Sunflower Centre have organised this trip thanks to your support to the programme for young people who grew up in the St Petersburg orphanages.Thanks to your help our young people are learning how to be responsible ' forever, for what you have tamed'.

Please consider making a donation tomorrow  -  GlobalGiving 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.

Oct 25, 2016

Together we saved innocent lad from prison

Beso (on the left) with his friend
Beso (on the left) with his friend

Being young and homeless in Tblisi carries many risks.  One of them is getting in trouble with the police.  This is why we run a special legal service for homeless youngsters to make sure they are properly represented.

Some of you may remember Beso, who we have been helping for some time.  Back in 2014 Global Giving donors helped fund an emergency operation for him, since when he has been back in work and doing well.

This year, Beso and his friend were going home late from a birthday party. He was in a very good mood and he was singing. The boys got thirsty so they started searching for a sink in the Tbilisi yards (old yards usually has sinks in them in Tbilisi). The police who were patrolling that night saw the two boys moving from yard to yard so they thought they were trying to steal something from these yards. The policemen caught Beso and his friend for attempted theft, which means 4-7 years of prison, also rebellious activity (up to 3 years) and resisting the police (3-5 years).

We got into this case just in time. After our lawyer spoke to the investigator he agreed that the boys haven’t stolen anything and that the only thing they did wrong was minor rebellious activity (i.e. making a noise in a public place at night – in this case singing) and so the law-enforcers had to drop the theft case, the rebellious activity and resisting the police. This comes under the administrative code (which is a fine of 500-2000GEL), rather than being a criminal offence. In the court,after our lawyer’s speech the judge didn’t fine the boys and only gave them a warning.

The whole point of this story is that if our lawyer hadn’t got into this case in time, the boys would have been in prison for a minimum of 4 years.

During the last 3 months our legal service has looked after 15 cases.  Thanks to us 6 cases were terminated, 5 finished with non-custodial sentences, 2 finished with custodial sentences, and two are still in process.  In many cases, providing a legal defense is our first contact with a young person.  We are very grateful to all our Global Giving donors for helping us keep our shelter going, so that where needed we can offer food, a home and training to those who have nowhere else to go after their release.  

Your donation will help keep our young people safe.  If you are a UK-based donor, this week your donation could go even further.  Globalgiving.co.uk is offering to match donations up to £50 from 2pm  on Tuesday 25th October  to 2pm on Tuesday 1st November, or while funds last.  Please make your donation early in the bonus week if you'd like to see 50% added to your donation.  Prizes are also available to projects that attract the most donors, so whether you are able to give this time or not, please tell your friends!  Thank you!

 
   

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