We support a range of activities designed to help the most disadvantaged both in their moment of crisis, and as they build a stronger long-term future for themselves and their families. Read on to find out about our:
- Children’s and family summer camps
- Teaching life skills to orphanage-leavers and homeless teenagers
- Work to integrate disabled people into society
- Efforts to feed the very poorest
Children’s Summer Camps
Sponsor a summer camp place for £50
Kostya’s mum, who grew up in a orphanage, was scared to let her two year old sun play on the playground at our summer camp base. We had to persuade her and the other parents that even toddlers have a natural need to play outside and to show them how they can all have fun playing together. This made the families that took part in our special summer camp for orphanage-leavers and their children think again about how they play at home.
Pavel had only recently stopped glue-sniffing when he came on our summer camp, where he took part in volunteer projects to help local villagers in Novinka. He found it difficult to trust the leaders and other teenagers to begin with, but soon was working hard alongside the others. When he was given a present to thank him for volunteering in the village he was in tears. This was the first present he had ever been given.
Summer camps can change lives. Each year we fund a summer camp for teenagers in the village of Novinka, NW Russia including teenagers who have difficulties in school and in their families. We also help fund a summer camp for orphanage leavers and their families, which helps build on our life skills work. The aim is to provide a holiday in the countryside, build confidence and friendships and to teach new skills.
“When I imagine my life, I can’t see what is next to me and where my place is. It’s frightening to think about what’s next”.
You can help take away this fear by giving £20 to help give vulnerable young people the skills they need to make choices and succeed in life.
By supporting our clubs for orphanage-leavers in St Petersburg you will be helping orphanage-leavers learn the social skills they need to overcome their fear of the world of work. You will be helping those with children become good parents so that their children don’t end up in orphanages.
In Tbilisi, Georgia, £20 can defend for a homeless teenager in trouble with the law. This is just the first step towards a new life. Rather than spending long years in prison for a minor crime, these teenagers are given a home and a vocational training by our partner charity, Mkurnali. Each year at least 20 young people are helped in this way.
In 2011 St Gregory’s Foundation helped Mkurnali buy a house of their own, so they don’t have to rely on unstable renting agreements. Over a year, Mkurnali provides accommodation for 100 teenagers including several young mums with babies. We also help Mkurnali look after their residents.
Giving disabled people a place in society
Until recently it was accepted that many disabled children would be put in an institution and would spend their whole life there, often with no attempt to educate them. We believe that families are essential for all children, and that supporting families with disabled children is hugely important if they are to care for their child at home.
That is why we support clubs which include the whole family, and are enabling disabled teenagers to learn the skills they will need to be as independent as possible.
In 2015 we hope that a new training centre will open for disabled teenagers. St Gregory’s Foundation has contributed substantially to the renovation and adaption of a building to make it suitable fully accessible. Training programmes will teach teenagers vocational skills to help them find employment and domestic skills to give them as much independence as possible. They will be delivered by Dinamika School for disabled children, by a Physiotherapy charity and by a social enterprise. You can find more details about the plans here.
At our club for babies and toddlers with hearing impairment, the children can have their hearing aids adjusted, be given specialist speech therapy, and take part in music activities and games, aimed to help them tune into the world of sound.
“Sonia began to play with the children and learnt a great deal from them. She began to develop better. She began to say ma-ma, pa-pa and ba-ba. Social contact is very important for children like Sonia, and they don’t hold sessions to develop the hearing and speech of such young children anywhere else.”
The parents support each other and gain in confidence. No longer embarrassed by the stigma of having a disabled child, they become their child’s strongest advocate.
In 2015 we will be funding a training programme to encourage other organisations to offer this family-based support and to train specialists in how to deliver it. As part of the programme, 40 families will be able to take part in support groups set up for children with severe multiple disabilities.
£13 will feed a neglected child a hot meal a day for a week.
In Kondopoga, Karelia, we feed 35 neglected children during the summer holidays. Without this help they wouldn’t get a hot meal most days. The children are fed by the Orthodox parish in this northern town. Much of the food is produced in the parish’s own greenhouse, which was provided by St Gregory’s. We also bought them cows, whose calves are still producing milk, cream and cheese to help feed the poor.
Where we work