Newsletter May 2013

May 31, 2013

Dear Friend,

Every day I am reminded of how American Friends of Georgia (AFG) supporters like you touch the lives of the most vulnerable children and elderly in this proud, yet struggling, new democracy. For this we are most grateful.

Your donations have helped AFG lead the way in developing trusting partnerships with organizations in Georgia having the most impact. AFG’s executive director in Georgia, Lena Kiladze, is able to identify those grass roots projects which can benefit most from our help in becoming sustainable.AFG’s effectiveness in Georgia is a result of our partnerships with committed individuals already responding to the immediate needs of food,shelter and health care while building progressive organizational structures.AFG’s nineteen years in Georgia has demonstrated that lasting change is dependent on empowering Georgians in their transition from a dysfunctional totalitarian system to an open society.

Parents House Kitchen/Café Project:  The Parent’s House is modeled off the Ronald McDonald houses in the US and provides a home away from home for families caring for a child suffering from leukemia like Nino, who sadly lost her hard-fought battle with the disease. Nino’s parents had to travel from a distant region of Georgia,sleeping in their child’s hospital room for months. All children with leukemia in Georgia must come to Tbilisi for treatment. They pleaded with AFG to create a place like Parent’s House to help families cope and improve chances for success. In Georgia, the care and feeding of a hospitalized child is the responsibility of the parent. In 2010, AFG was able to provide funding to build a Parents House. Now that we had a lodging facility, the next step was to build a Kitchen/Cafe. The purpose for the Kitchen/Café is threefold: providing nutritious meals, giving part time jobs to the parents during the children’s lengthy treatment and helping the Parents’ House to become a self-supporting program by generating revenue from the public.

Yet, with every success story, there is a daunting challenge needing your help. TheTbilisi Day Care Center will close this summer without more funding. Started by Abbess Mariam of the Transfiguration Convent, this center is the sole resource for 18 poverty-stricken children who have been abandoned,and in many cases, abused. The pre-school education these children receive is their only hope of gaining entry into the Georgian school system. 5-year-old Sophie* came to the Day Care Center because her parents are alcoholic and neglectful and she was seen begging at the Metro Station. Sophie desperately needs your help. In just a short period of time, she has become aninquisitive student who recites poetry, sings, paints and dances. But what will happen to Sophie if the Day Care Center closes? Please help Sophie and others like her. Your gift provides food, care and education now and has the potential to turn a young life towards a better future. Imagine with your help, Sophie can grow up healthy and educated and with the potential to become a leader who will pass along the opportunities given because of AFG to the next generation.

We want people to see AFG’s projects in action and invite you to join us for our next remarkable ‘Journey to Georgia’ trip next September. Experience first hand the positivework being done by our partners and see the beautiful country and culture of Georgia.The AFG tour page at MIR can be accessed at

http://www.mircorp.com/tour_american_friends_georgia_2013.asp.

To sign up, please contact Anne Thorsteinson at the MIR Corporation by phone 1-855-691-7903, email annet@mircorp.com or by mailing the registration form at the website above.

Sincerely,

Marusya Chavchavadze

Executive Director

*Name changed to protect her identity.

P.S. Remember, without your help, AFG will not be able to reach the most vulnerable citizens of Georgia and provide the services they need. Please make a gift today!

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View our past newsletters at these links below:

Georgia Office Bulletin, July 2011

Georgia Office Bulletin, May 2011

Georgia Office Bulletin, February 2011

Georgia Office Bulletin, January 2011

Newsletter #6, January 2011

Newsletter #5, May 2010

Newsletter #4, February 2010

Newsletter #3, November 2009

Newsletter #2, July 2009

Newsletter #1, March 2009

Newsletter #1, October 2003