SGF supporters visit Mkurnali, Georgia

Our recent fundraising trip to Georgia was an eye-opener for St Gregory’s supporters. Not only did we enjoy the famous Georgian hospitality with our Mkurnali partners, but we also were given the full tour of the shelter we sponsor, including a jewellery-making workshop. This shelter gives a home to young people who faced homelessness or experienced the criminal justice system. Here they also find a pathway to a vocation and an entirely new life.

The shelter provides a variety of workshops, including jewellery-making, car and printer repair and more. We also viewed the newly renovated loft completed by Nino Chubabria and her team, designed to house more families and youths. The immediate goal is to furnish two rooms, with a local donor already contributing a sofa and a toddler bed. Future plans might involve purchasing a garage near the shelter to start an income-generating venture like bicycle repair, offering valuable apprenticeship opportunities. The late George Guest, one of our main supporters of Mkurnali, was passionate about developing Mkurnali’s infrastructure, and his legacy continues to support these efforts.

Currently, Mkurnali is home to approximately 15 young people and two families. Four children, between one to ten years old, live there with their parents. Our group congratulated Christina, who has become Georgia’s official athletics champion and was recently featured on a TV programme, the Georgian equivalent of Little Big Shots.

Progress for Gordei

7 year-old Gordei has been making great progress with his communication book thanks to the skilled professionals at Communication Space.

St Gregory’s works in partnership with Communication Space to introduce alternative technology to Russia to benefit people with disabilities. Gordei is one of the children who has recevied bespoke teaching, opening up new ways of communicating.

Gordei has cerebral palsy, which affects his ability to speak. fortunately, his parents found Communication Space, and he is now learning how to use PECS – a language of visual symbols contained in his communication book.

Until recently, Gordei would only use one symbol at a time. He would rely on the person he was “talking” to being able to guess what he meant. The therapists at Communication Space have made some simple adjustments to the way the symbols are arranged in his book, and now he is putting two or even three symbols together in phrases. Recently, in answer to the question, “How are you?”, Gordei answered “bad” and then himself found the symbol for “cold”. It is already becoming easier for those around him to understand Gordei. The solutions may seem simple, but it takes skill, empathy and patience to make this kind of breakthrough. We are so glad our colleagues are helping train others so that many more children like Gordei can express themselves.