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.
Oct 2, 2014

A summer of international discovery

Our parents have always been at the heart of our club for hearing impaired toddlers and their families.  We recognise that they know their children best and influence their development far more than we can alone.  For most of our parents this is a new experience.  They are not used to being taken seriously by specialists.

During our summer break we took four of our parents to a conference organised by Hands and Voices, a US parents' group for parents with hearing impaired children.  With generous funding from the US side we were able to travel to Savannah, Georgia, and meet other parents in similar situations.  Natasha and Masha, Alla and Zoya talked to the American parents about how to support parents at different stages in their lives, how to teach hearing impaired children and other topics that interested them all.  They plan to keep in touch with their new friends as there is so much more they want to discuss.

In October this year some of the American parents will return the visit and take part in a conference taking place in St Petersburg which is centred on communication.  Our group will be presenting a paper on communicating with hearing impaired children.

Our parents have grown in confidence and are excited by the new ideas they've been introduced to.  We hope the visit will lead to new ways for all our parents to support each other and share information.

Meanwhile, our club starts up again for the autumn, and we look forward to welcoming back some old faces and meeting new families.  Thank you very much for all you have done to keep our club running.

Sep 24, 2014

How you helped Teona escape homelessness

Teona
Teona

We got introduced to Teona when she was 14. Just when she was released from the Children's shelter and she was on the streets again. Teona was selling flowers in the restaurants by night while she and her friends were sleeping in a basement of a wrecked building.

Teona started attending our sewing classes. Teona had 3 rooms in a communal apartment while the other 2 was owned by her neighbours who wanted to get rid of Teona so they could have her rooms and they didn’t let Teona live peacefully there. One day when Teona went home the neighbours dragged Teona into their room beat her up, called the police and said that Teona tried attacking them with a knife that she pulled out, out of her back pocket when the trousers she was wearing didn’t even have a back pocket.

The police caught Teona and the law court was deciding that they were going to give her 4 years of prison but we found out soon enough to get involved and instead of the 4 years they let Teona free.  In the video (http://youtu.be/Wz_Br2b4OUY), Teona describes how frightened she was before we got involved with our legal service.

After that Teona continued sewing classes in Mkurnali and stayed overnight with us too. Teona is now married with 2 children and they live in Teona's communal 3 rooms, because after the trial the police told the neighbours to be careful with the way they treat Teona. At the moment Teona cannot use the skills she learned at Mkurnali because she has 2 children to raise but she is sewing for her own children.

You played a vital part in helping Teona get back on her feet.  Our legal team and sewing teacher have given Teona a fresh start, but it was vital that Teona could stay with us while we helped her resolve the conflict in her life.  We don't turn anyone away, whether they need a short respite stay, or to make us their home for a longer period.  We can only do this if we can feed them, so we are very grateful to you for your help.

Teona wearing one of her creations
Teona wearing one of her creations

Links:

Aug 28, 2014

You're giving Natalia the chance to be a hero

Natalia
Natalia

Natalia is one of three volunteers that helps us support young people as they age out of the orphanage system in St Petersburg.  They all grew up in orphanages themselves and a few years ago they would have struggled to look after themselves.  Now they are desperate to make life easier for the younger ones.

Natalia and the other volunteers tell us how important it is for them to take part in this project, how the worry before every session, how they like to discuss with us how the group is progressing.  They understand what our young people are going through, because they've been there themselves.  They have taken the initiative in inviting members of the group round and introducing them to their family.  It is very important for them to prevent our young people from feeling lonely, to introduce them to life beyond the children's home and to help them get on with people.  Natalia's was a particular help to one of our group-members who was feeling unmotivated.  She encouraged her to keep attending and keep learning.

Natalia and her friends get a huge amount out of volunteering themselves.  All through their childhood they were told they were useless, and here they are helping other people in a way that only they can.  They give friendship and a depth of understanding that we, the experts, can never give.  

We want to celebrate our fabulous volunteers and thank you for giving them a chance to be heros.  Your donations have allowed us to train our volunteers and to give them ongoing support through the year.

Before we go, we have a special message for our UK-based supporters.  Between 1st and 8th September GlobalGiving UK are adding 50% to donations.  This is a great time to make your donation go further.  If you can't make a donation now, we'd be really grateful if you could share this report.  If you'd like a reminder when the bonus week starts, please contact Sarah Gale (sarah.sgf@live.com).  Thank you!

 

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