Improving lives and neighbourhoods

ParkhWe love a win win solution and that is what SGF partner organization, Mkurnali was able to create recently in their own neighbourhood.   Rather than choosing between a troubled teenager and the community he was disrupting, Mkurnali has been able to improve life for everyone.

Parkhat is a neighbour of Mkurnali’s.  He came from an Azerbaidzhani family who settled in Tbilisi.  He is 15 and a half years old and has been growing up without his mother.  She left him and his father and went off with another man after finding that her husband had cancer. Parkhat’s father is a good, hardworking and honest man and it is terribly sad that he is ill and does not have anyone to help him. He is unable to look after Parkhat whose behaviour became much worse after his mother left them.  Continue reading Improving lives and neighbourhoods

Mother’s Day inspiration from Sunflower

Timur finds it difficult to play
The session leader attracts Timur’s attention
Timur enjoys playing with his mother, who takes a more active role.

Dilyana grew up in a family and works as a teacher.  So why does she need Sunflower’s help to raise her 3-year-old son, Timur?

Families can take part in the Sunflower programme whether one or both parents grew up in an orphanage.  In this case, it is Timur’s father, Sasha, who had the orphanage childhood.  Indeed, he is the pride of his children’s home and still works there to this day.  Although on the surface, this family look as if they are coping well, Sunflower’s experience teaches them to pay particular attention to the way children are treated in families such as this.  As they put it, in families where a woman marries a man who grew up in an orphanage, it is “as if her social skills and understanding of safety are somehow blocked.  The woman from the stable background often submits to her husband’s initiative, and observes his rules, which were laid down in his children’s home past.” Continue reading Mother’s Day inspiration from Sunflower

A new start for a homeless family in Georgia

Earlier this year Artur and Christine and their four children, long-term residents at the homeless shelter we support in Tbilisi, were  able to buy a small shack in a village near Tbilisi.  It doesn’t look like much, but this shack offers a great opportunity for the family to live independently at last, particularly since it comes with land so they can grow food.

Artur and Christine are trying to bring the shack into shape as a house and have already done a lot of work on it. Now they need to have basic living conditions to move in. Each month they pay towards the cost of the house, but that leaves them with nothing to furnish it.  Our assistant, Jemal, posted their story on social media and had a fantastic response. One kind woman gave them money, so that they could buy a water pump to put in their yard. (The water pressure brought to their house is so weak, they would have not have proper water otherwise.) Other people donated furniture, household items and even doors and window.  Jemal asked our neighbour, who owns a truck, if he could help us move these items to the village. The neighbour agreed to help and only took the money for petrol.

Christine and Artur now have beds, cupboards, chairs, duvet covers, mattresses, clothes, books and toys for the kids. The whole family is so happy. Now they just have to build on another room and then they will at last be able to move in and live as an independent family for the first time in their lives.

A volunteer’s view from our summer camp

Our volunteer reading to childrenYulia Bondarkova has volunteered with our partners Sunflower, to help them run their summer camp for parents who grew up in orphanages and their young children.  This is her story.

“As it happened my first meeting with the families happened quite naturally – I traveled with them on the train.  We met at the station, bought our tickets, and loaded our noisy group with its bags and baggage, little children and one pregnant mother onto the train.  It was a long journey with two changes.  There was no way of knowing that these attentive, caring mothers, who were all helping each other, had had such a hard life.  Continue reading A volunteer’s view from our summer camp

Mothers who grew up in orphanages mentor others

Galina with Natalia's son
Galina with Natalia’s son

Our partners at Sunflower in St Petersburg are training mothers who grew up in orphanages to support and mentors younger mothers in the same situation.  Sunflower helped Galina when her children were young.  Now she is helping Natalia care for her baby son. Continue reading Mothers who grew up in orphanages mentor others

Sunflower did the impossible – they saved my daughter for me

Liza and her mum“For two years I have been taking my daughter, Liza, to the Sunflower centre and in the summer we spend a week at camp with other families.  This gives me the strength to carry on and gives me hope that my and my daughter’s lives will work out”.

All of our families come to us with difficult stories, so it it wonderful when we are able to light a path for them through to brighter times.  If Liza’s grandmother had had the help her mother’s found with us, a whole world of suffering could have been prevented.  We’re just glad that, thanks to you, we can be here for the family now and have been able to break the cycle of misery.   Continue reading Sunflower did the impossible – they saved my daughter for me