SGF newsletter now out
You can now download our latest newsletter to find out more about how teenagers from poor and troubled families are benefiting from our summer camps and our plans to create a training centre for disabled teenagers in St Petersburg.
Join our mailing list if you would like to receive our newsletter twice a year by post.
Tamara Dragadze recovering from life-threatening accident
Tamara Dragadze, who for many years has been an invaluable member of St Gregory’s board of directors, has just recovered from a freak accident that occurred while she was swimming in the south of France. She spent several days in an induced coma and intensive care, from which, against all the odds, she has now emerged. We all rejoice that she is still with us!
Rather than send her the biggest bunch of flowers imaginable, or quantities of champagne and caviar to speed her recovery, Tamara’s fellow-directors are organising a collection for the one Georgian organisation which we support - Mkurnali, the Tbilisi charity for street children. This will speed her recovery even more effectively, and the results will be long-lasting!
If you would like to contribute, please click on the donate button below for details of how to donate by cheque or online. Please do make sure you tell us that your donation is for the “Tamara appeal” either by marking your cheque, or, If you choose to donate online, by e-mailing Sarah Gale at email@example.com.
Successful summer camp for adults with learning disabilities
From 22nd to 29th July Faith and Light held its traditional summer camp in the countryside. Faith and Light is a group of families with adult children who have learning disabilities. They meet regularly through the year to socialise and support each other. The summer camp is the highlight of the year.
This year a lot of people came on the camp: 7 families, 7 friends and 2 young people who don’t have parents. Despite bad weather for the first half of the camp, everyone enjoyed themselves. The sports, performances, walks, swimming in the lake, and mushroom picking expeditions all provided excellent opportunities to strengthen our friendships, to socialise better and to become more motivated to be active.
We also worked together: peeling vegetables, cooking, washing up and generally looking after each other. This joint activity strengthened the friendly atmosphere, and also helped to develop skills and to increase independence.
Creativity wasn’t forgotten. We had the traditional Talent Show and when it was rainy we all danced in the disco. Finally, everyone took part in the traditional sports day. Physical activity and sport is very important for our children who have very little opportunity to take part in sport outside the camp.
Irina Lialina, mother of Misha and Faith and Light leader
Summer camp for budding forestry workers
Teenagers in the Girvas Forestry Club have been busy for the last month and a bit doing the weeding in the tree nursery, clearing fly-tipping in the forest and more. We are very proud of their efforts to protect their beautiful local environment.
St Gregory’s together with our Russian sister charity, Let’s Help Each Other, provided funding to feed the participants through the summer an immunize them against tick-borne encephalitis, which is endemic in the forest. Thanks to our donors the teenagers are learning to love the beautiful local forest, are receiving a solid vocational education, and have a more nutritious diet through the summer.
Major grant to help parents who grew up in orphanages
Congratulations to Sunflower, our partner organisation that works with orphanage-leavers. They have won a grant from Amway, an international company, which will fund their work with parents who grew up in orphanages and their children for an entire year.
This means that we can help the organisation to develop. We have already funded Sunflower to run extra seminars for staff working at a state-run family-support centre starting in September. Over the summer we will be thinking carefully about how else we can best help them.
St Gregory’s summer newsletter out now
Our summer newsletter is available online and print copies will be mailed out soon. Download for news from our work with parents who grew up in orphanages, children with hearing impairments, and poor families in need of food parcels.
Orphanage-leavers and their children to take part in international exhibition
Parents and children from the Sunflower Centre will have their art work exhibited at the XVIII International Ballet Festival in Riga later this month.
The group, which supports parents who grew up in orphanages to be better parents, has been working hard in preparation. They have visited a ballet theatre and museum, and have created their own scenes thanks to a kind donor who paid for the art materials.
We are very impressed by their art work. One of the best pictures has been added to our e-card page so you too can send it to your friends.
Russian fundraising benefits children with cancer
We are delighted that our sister organisation in St Petersburg has started to fundraise energetically and effectively. Thanks to the generosity of the firm Balttekhnika they have been able to buy this special hoist for children on the cancer ward at Hospital No. 31 in St Petersburg. Our colleagues also make ingenious straps and mats to help move patients, and have supplied several sets to the ward.
These simple things improve the quality of life of patients and protect the staff’s backs. This year St Gregory’s are also funding seminars in lifting techniques for medical staff and family carers. Anyone who has been a carer will know how tough it can be, but with a little knowledge and some simple equipment we can lighten the load.
Our Royal Patron visits St Gregory’s project
We are delighted that on 21st February our patron, His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, visited Dinamika School for children with motor disabilities in St Petersburg to find out more about our plans for a major joint project. With our support, the school hopes to convert a building into a centre for vocational and life-skills education for children and young people with physical and learning disabilities.
His Royal Highness toured this building, and also met Sannia Porshneva, Dinamika’s headteacher, pupils from the school, Dr Ekaterina Klochkova, who we have worked with for many years to introduce physiotherapy as a profession to Russia, and Tatiana Sedova, director of Fair Play, a social enterprise which provides training and employment in textiles. Dr Klochkova’s NGO Physical Rehabilitation and Fair Play are both partners in this ground-breaking project.
The visit was also an opportunity to highlight the work of our sister organisation Pomozhem Drug Drugu, or Let’s Help Each Other, in St Petersburg. Our colleagues were honoured by Prince Michael’s visit and we are truly grateful to him for taking such an interest in our work.
Details of August trip to St Petersburg and Karelia
We are planning a group trip to St Petersburg and Karelia in August 2013 and you are very welcome to join us.
Travelling to Russia with St Gregory’s Foundation is more than a tourist experience. While you will get a chance to see some of the highlights of Russian heritage and landscape, you will also spend time with some of our colleagues, volunteers and the people who benefit from our work. You will visit small village communities off the normal tourist trail and get a deeper insight into Russian culture. Read more.
If you would like to join us, please fill in and return a booking form with your deposit by the end of January 2013.