Caritas Georgia was founded in 1994 to support and care for the many Georgians who encountered hardship after the beak-up of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s independence in 1991. As an officially registered NGO, their mission is to promote human development and social justice, provide relief to the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and ensure the human dignity and fundamental rights of every child, woman and man are protected and respected. At the grassroots level, they engage in 62 projects within Georgia consisting of social and medical programmes, home care service for the disabled and bedridden, reintegration of isolated people into society, humanitarian aid relief, youth programmes to provide education to underprivileged children, shelters for the homeless and establishing rehabilitation centres to give medical and disease-prevention procedures.
Caritas Georgia humanitarian response projects allows independent decisions on the frontlines to ensure the lifesaving aid is rapid and effective. The aid provided during and after a catastrophes, such as floods, earthquakes, landslides and avalanches, reduces suffering, restores dignity and jump-starts economic recovery. In 2009, when a powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked northern Georgia, damaging and destroying many houses, leaving hundreds homeless, Caritas Georgia mobilized forces to deliver 200 tents and 464 sleeping bags to families.
Complementing its humanitarian relief, Caritas Georgia began to implement long-term developmental programmes, such as construction and refurbishment of kindergartens for children, rehabilitation centres to provide food and educational services for “street children” and those forced from their homes and a seven year community development “Rehabilitation of Water Supply System” to provide drinking and irrigation water systems to 8000 families who lack water. Caritas Georgia invests in income generating projects, such as bakeries, pizzerias and car repairs to create jobs and bring stable revenue to finance its humanitarian sector.
Caritas Georgia social services are more essential than ever as Georgia’s number of poor continues to rise. Its soup kitchens provide hot meals every day to those most at-risk – lonely elderly people, children, and homeless. Its primary health care initiatives provides rehabilitation, treatment advice and medicine from licensed health care professionals to over 1200 people every year; serving the elderly, poor people and people suffering from HIV/AIDS. In 1999, Pope John Paul II officially opened the “Friendly Heart” a homeless shelter built by Caritas Georgia to give out food and care to the homeless and poor, 25-30 people visit every day.
Caritas Georgia main office is located in Tbilisi and has approximately 145 staff and 50 volunteers.
As a member of the world-wide Caritas Internationalis confederation, Caritas Georgia receives fundamental assistance from the global Caritas network to carry out their programmes; such as Caritas Germany, CORDAID Netherlands, Caritas Italy and Caritas Denmark.
Caritas Updates from Georgia
Once the war was over, Caritas started giving out food, hygiene kits and offering access to health care and counselling to help people deal with the trauma what they had gone through. This went on through the winter months and right up until May 2009.
Laura Sheahen, an information officer for Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA), was deployed to Georgia during the recent conflict. Here, she reflects on the first frantic week in the field.
“People were not prepared for the Russians entering their homes. They just fled. They didn’t know where they were going. They didn’t know where they were going to stay.”
Caritas Internationalis Vice President and President of Caritas Europe, Fr Erny Gillen, has just returned from a visit to Georgia where tens of thousands of people have fled their homes to escape recent conflict.
Caritas Georgia Info
|Postal Address||3a Plateau Nutsubidze II, 0183
|Telephone||+995 32 25 01 93
+995 32 94 20 73
|Fax||+995 32 21 78 19
+995 32 25 13 87
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
ENGLAND AND WALES – CAFOD
ENGLAND AND WALES – CSAN