Family Strengthening Programme from Tbilisi, Georgia
Family Strengthening Programme in TbilisiOver the last three years, the family strengthening programme of SOS Children's Villages has reached over 500 children in Georgia's
capital whose families are in dire need of support and guidance to be able to once again live independently.
Some families are included in the programme for as short as six months, while for others the efforts take longer. Also, the scope of services rendered differs according to the needs of the families. The following stories of two families show how.
Sopho is in her late twenties. Six years ago, with her husband she went to live and work in Moscow. There they got a son, Nika. Life was hard, but at least her husband had a job and they could get by with the low salary. Then, one day, a police raid in their neighbourhood discovered that they too, like many others, didn't have the proper papers and shortly after were deported back to Georgia.
They found shelter in an old storage room of an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Tbilisi. The conditions are terrible. The roof leaks in several spots and the ground-floor room has only two small windows facing the north. It's chilly inside even on the hottest of days. Their only heating source is a small wooden stove which Sopho also uses for cooking.
Five months agoTiko, one of the social workers in the programme, explains how she met the family. "We have a lot of beneficiaries in this end of town. Mostly they are refugees from Abkhazia (breakaway region in the northwest of the country, editor's remark). During a regular visit I saw a little boy peeking through a shabby fence. There was an open manhole just few feet away so I told him to stay there and walked over. His mom, Sopho, was in the yard. We spoke and seeing the terrible conditions they live in, I offered that she comes down to the office to talk and maybe join the programme
." That was in May of this year.
"Some services we had to secure immediately," explains Tiko. "The boy had many health problems as he was never vaccinated. I registered him with the health service which supplied and gave him the necessary vaccines. His health has been good, but we are worrying what will happen when winter comes."
The boy was also enrolled in the nearby SOS nursery which he is attending free of charge. The regular food supplies ensure his proper nutrition and the hygiene products improved the living conditions of the whole family. In addition, the family gets second-hand clothes whenever the programme receives such donation. "We also gave them a bed because until then they all slept on one worn-down sofa."