News from Mkurnali’s shelter

We are very much looking forward to meeting Mkurnali’s residents during the supporters’ trip to Tbilisi this summer. We will meet some longstanding members of the commuity, like Jemal (once a beneficiary and now Nino’s right hand man). We will also meet some new residents, like Luisa, whose story we tell today.

Luisa is an Azerbaijani Kurd and she came to Georgia with her mother and her brothers and sisters when she was a child. The family earned their living by begging and petty theft, but Luisa ran away. She appealed for help so she could study and lead a normal life. First she lived in an orphanage and then in foster care in a town some 200km from Tbilisi.

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Memorial Tea and Nino’s visit

In recent years, coffee mornings in Ruislip organised by the late George and Shirley Guest, have raised thousands of pounds for Mkurnali to help with the rehabilitation and employment of homeless teenagers and young offenders in Tbilisi. Trips to Georgia organised by George inspired many people to support Mkurnali even more. This helped refurbish and equip Mkurnali’s house.

In memory of these two remarkable supporters, a group of volunteers: Liz Parry, Cicely Draper and St Gregory’s Director, Vivian Wright organised the Memorial Tea for George and Shirley on 15th October in Ruislip. The event was a great success and reunited more than 75 people, including George and Shirley’s daughter Rebecca, and Sam their grandson. A very special guest, Nino Chubabria, Director of Mkurnali came from Tbilisi to pay tribute to George and Shirley on behalf of Mkurnali’s young people.
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Fedya’s became a homeless orphan aged 6

St Gregory’s Foundation works with a remarkable charity, called Mkurnali, in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Mkurnali provides sheleter, vocational training and employment, and a legal service to homeless young people in their city.

Nino, Mkurnali’s director, met Fedya and his brother Artur in 2002. They were sleeping near Dighomi market along with other “street children”.  He was always cheerful and friendly despite all the difficulties. After the death of his father, Fedya, his mother and brother were thrown out of the house by their uncle and had no other place to go. They had to live on the street and sleep in cellars or wherever they could find a shelter. 

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George and Shirley Guest – RIP

We are very sorry to announce that George Guest and his wife, Shirley, for many, many years a mainstay of St Gregory’s Foundation, have both died earlier this month. Before she died, his wife, Shirley, suggested that those who would like to remember George give a donation to the Foundation in his memory.

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A warm home for homeless families in Tbilisi – our Christmas appeal

This year our Christmas appeal is on behalf of our partner charity, Mkurnali. Global events have led to significant rent rises in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Mkurnali are on the front line, providing accommodation to families and young people who would otherwise have nowhere to go.

Grigol’s* family are one of two new families at Mkurnali’s shelter. In 2020 we reported how he was taken in by Mkurnali after he lost his job and attempted suicide. He had since moved out, found work and married. Now a new baby and rent rises mean that he can no longer provide for his family.

The charity have created a loft extension so they can offer more housing. They have more renovations to complete and a bathroom to install before they are able to welcome two more families from their waiting list. We know that this is a difficult year for many, but if you can spare a little, together we can help them house more desperate families.

*Not his real name

Winter newsletter out now

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