One of Mkurnali’s residents, Dato, has also developed serious health problems. He was diagnosed with a severe stage of polyarthritis and his walking and sight have greatly diminished. Sadly the treatment he received has not yet been effective. He now needs a medicine that costs 5,000 GEL (£1,228) per dose. It turns out that Dato will need 4 doses a year. In spite of Dato’s current second degree disability, such medicines are not provided by state funding.
Mkurnali’s director, Nino, and her helpers have tried to earn this amount but this has proved difficult in the current climate. Nino told us: “I turned to my friend, Dr Marina Ramazashvili, who has her own eye clinic and who has helped with free treatment for some Mkurnali’s beneficiaries in the past. Marina ran a free check and confirmed that arthritis caused Dato’s sight deterioration. Thankfully she connected us with another clinic in Tbilisi where the required medicine and treatment will become available in two month’s time with support from Germany. Amazingly this local clinic led by Ms Darejan Shelia will match Marina’s free offer for Mkurnali and serve our beneficiaries free of charge if there are cases of cardiac problems”.
Keeping active is vital for children with physical disabilities, but it can be hard to do. This is why, our colleagues at Physical Rehabilitation in St Petersburg developed Move4Fit. The first fitness application for children with motor disabilities.
Surprisingly, until now, such fitness apps for children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilties have simply not existed. The app allows families to draw up fitness plans and set goals. The regular workouts develop their motor skills, increase confidence, and are fun.
Last summer was a very special one for the Parish of Kondopoga, Karelia. An easing of restrictions allowed the summer activities to go ahead and the Parish invited ten disabled children and their parents to join the summer programme for children from disadvantaged families. As the weather was warm and sunny, most lessons and games were held outdoors and children learned new skills and made new friends.
“What a wonderful summer! We all enjoyed meetings, friends, laughter and a wonderful atmosphere at the parish. A huge thank you for this support dur- ing the hard time of covid. We also received food, shoes and school uniforms. We are looking forward as a family to growing more with the parish and cannot wait for next summer.”
Food parcels and books and school uniform for the new school year were also distributed by the parish to local families living in poverty.
Lensovietsky is a new suburb of St Petersburg, which has become a “settlement of orphanage-leavers”. Its crime-rate and anti-social behaviour make it notorious. There is loud music, conflicts, fights, etc round the clock. Police raids and visits by social services have become the norm district. Understandable, orphanage-leavers are not popular with other residents. Quite apart from their antisocial lifestyle, they have run up debts for heating and water supply, and residents have complained about the disconnection of such necessary services. The infrastructure – medical, educational, social institutions – in the residential district is still underdeveloped. For leavers, this has become one of the main obstacles to their integration into society.
This is the context for a new class our partners, Sunflower, have set up this year for families in crisis with children under 5.
We are delighted that on 13th October our Patron, His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, visited the Sunflower Centre in St Petersburg to find out about their flagship programmes at first hand. The Sunflower Centre focuses on providing psychological support for parents who grew up in orphanages and for teenagers leaving orphanages in St. Petersburg.
Our charity shop has unique gifts handcrafted in Georgia and Russia, exclusive card designs, jewellery, books, toiletries and more. Each purchase helps vulnerable children and families in Eastern Europe.