Our newsletter is out now with stories from Moscow, St Petersburg, Kondopoga and Tbilisi. To celebrate our 30th anniversary we look back and appreciate how far we’ve come. We take stock of the extraordinary present day and look ahead to future plans. Dive in, and join our efforts to create a brighter future for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our regions.
The pandemic noticeably worsened the working conditions in Georgia, as it did in the whole world. The majority of companies started working from home and now they don’t use many printers – we lost a lot of orders for fixing or changing cartridges. Our other small business – a car repair shop – continues to work, but only with a limited capacity: the prices of fuel have drastically increased and there-fore people are driving less. Many young people lost their jobs. Regular work remained only for those who worked at grocery stores and supermarkets and perhaps as street cleaners.Continue reading Life at Mkurnali’s homeless shelter – Tbilisi
In 2020 Mkurnali defended 37 cases. Twelve of these young people, who faced probable conviction were found completely innocent thanks to our lawyer’s intervention. Twelve received a suspended sentence, and the others were all given much-reduced sentences. We have the story of one of these cases for you today.
Mamuka has served a sentence for theft before, but since his release he has changed dramatically. He has married, had a child, trained as a heating installer and worked very hard. One day, when he was shopping at his usual grocery store he was arrested again for theft. Had Mkurnli not been able to confirm his alibi, he would now be facing four years in prison for something he did not do.Continue reading Acquitted for New Year
St Gregory’s has a long-standing partnership with Mkurnali, a charity that helps homeless young people in Tbilisi, Georgia. Nino Chubabria, Mkurnali’s director tells a story of an extraordinary coincidence which allowed the charity to save a young man.
“Not long ago, one of our residents saw a news report about a lad who tried to commit suicide. He had lost his job, and with no income, he had also been evicted. Vano recognised the young man because they grew up together in an orphanage, and he asked me to help him. When I watched the story, I also recognised the young man. He had been arrested about ten years ago for stealing toy binoculars. He was then a child living on the streets of Batumi and Tbilisi, and he survived by begging and stealing.
We got involved and saved him from prison on condition that we took responsibility for him. He came and lived in our shelter for two years. After that he started working and living independently, until he lost his job because of Corona virus. After seeing the story, Jemal found him and brought him back. He now lives at our shelter again, and will stay here until he can start work again.”
We 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