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 St Gregory’s donors makes this outreach possible. You are helping buy the food and pay Jamal a modest salary. You also helped Mkurnali replace their moped with the new one Giorgi is sitting on in the picture.
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.”