St Gregory’s newsletter now out

Item added:

Building work has almost finished our new Centre for disabled teenagers in St Petersburg and our thoughts turn to equipping it.

Three of our summer camps are given climbing frames, which turn out to be more useful than we could ever have expected.

One of the homeless teenagers we helped in Tbilisi tells her story of how she escaped the streets and became a dress-maker.

Here is your link to our latest newsletter which has updates on all this and more.

Download newsletter

A moped to reach out to street children

Item added:

We partner with Mkurnali in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, to care for street children.  Together we provide a legal service for street children in trouble with the police, we house around 17 young people, and feed more during the winter month.

This year we would like to give Mkurnali a moped for Christmas.  For just £600 we can make sure that they have a moped with wheels, unlike their current model, so that they can reach out to teenagers still living on the streets.  It will also make their ink-cartridge recycling business, which helps fund Mkurnali’s work, more profitable because it will be so much quicker to pick up from and deliver to clients.

Giorgi and moped

Giorgi and Mkurnali’s moped

Giorgi is the lynch-pin of the ink-cartridge business and is one of Mkurnali’s success stories.  Nino tells his story:

“Giorgi’s family lost their house in the 90’s and was left on the streets. His parents went to Russia to work and left Giorgi and his brother with an old lady who was their neighbour. When the boys grew up the neighbour could not support them anymore so they were on the streets again where they met other so called “street children” and joined them. When Giorgi came to our centre nine years ago there was a criminal case open on him for stealing (that he didn’t actually do) and it was set that they were going to give him 3 years, with our help he was in the prison for 6 months. After his release he started learning making enamel jewelry in our workshop and computer ink-cartridge service. He is a very diligent young adult, and he has a huge sense of responsibility. In 2008 Giorgi moved to “Mkurnali” and he works and lives here till this day.  Giorgi awakens my sense of respect for him and inspiration because of his clean soul, diligence and inner intelligence.  Giorgi is a bright person who wasn’t ruined by prison, streets or injustice. All of our customers mark Giorgis sincerity towards his job and everyone values him. He likes to discuss the books he has read with adults and he has very interesting ways of thinking. “

A moped will help provide jobs for Giorgi and other young people so that they can make a life for themselves after homelessness or prison.  By making the ink cartridge business more profitable it will also help provide a local source of funding for Mkurnali’s work.  Can you help us buy a moped for Mkurnali for Christmas?

Donation button

Our newsletter in Russian

Item added:

Возможно сейчас читать наш бюллитень по-русскии, благодаря волонтеру переводчику Ирине Фосе.

Наш бюллитень


Summer newsletter now out

Item added:

Building work has started on our new Centre for disabled teenagers in St Petersburg.  Our club for toddlers with hearing impairments celebrates its tenth birthday.  British volunteer fundraisers hit the national press.

Find out about all this and more in our latest newsletter.

Download newsletter

Nine ingredients for independent life

Item added:

SONY DSCOur groups for teenagers leaving orphanages and parents who have grown up in orphanages were joined by guests from a children’s home in Archangel province to talk about how they see their future.  Together they came up with nine ingredients for an independent life.  We are delighted to share the recipe with you.

  1. respect yourself and others
  2. being able to value yourself
  3. being able to win trust
  4. risk
  5. courage
  6. being able to work
  7. responsibility
  8. freedom and
  9. ability to be yourself


Vera moves into her own flat

Item added:

One of the orphanage-leavers we’ve been supporting, we’ll call her Vera, will be spending 2014 in her own flat.  Six years after she was given the flat by the authorities she now feels confident enough to face independent life thanks to the support given by the Sunflower Centre with your help.

It takes some imagination to realise just what a big step this is.  Young people who have grown up in orphanages are used to sleeping in dormitories, to having everything done for them, to never having to take any decisions.  The system allows them to stay in education (with hostel accommodation provided) until they are 23, but this just delays the problems.  To avoid the terror of living alone, most orphanage-leavers will take two or even three college courses so they can stay on as long as possible.  When they do leave, they often prefer to live together in one overcrowded flat and rent out the room or the flat they’ve been given.

So we congratulate Vera on her brave decision to live independently.  We are delighted that she has friendly, helpful neighbours and the ongoing support of the Sunflower Centre. She is one of five members of the Sunflower group who have taken this momentous step and we wish them all well.

Brothers find new adoptive family

Item added:

We have been helping the Orthodox parish in Kondopoga, NW Russia, to feed deprived children during the summer holidays for many years now. Some of the parents simply cannot afford to feed their children, others have alcohol or drug problems or are mentally ill. As well as a hot meal, the parish lay on games and each child is given the stationery they need for the school year ahead at the end of the holidays.

This year, two of the boys who the parish feed were taken into a children’s home. Fortunately, they didn’t stay there for long. A family from the parish have adopted the brothers, aged 6 and 10 years old. Since then the boys have really thrived and have quite a sparkle in their eyes. The older brother has joined a skiing team and the younger brother enjoys swimming.

SGF newsletter now out

Item added:

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.

Download newsletterJoin our mailing list if you would like to receive our newsletter twice a year by post.


Tamara Dragadze recovering from life-threatening accident

Item added:

Tamara with Mkurnali residentsTamara 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

Donation button

Successful summer camp for adults with learning disabilities

Item added:

Faith and Light group picnicFrom 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