Kutaisi has its own poverty issues to deal with but also a large number of internally displaced migrants.
SOS Children works with the government to ensure that families have their basic needs, and any children who fall through the net are properly cared for.
Economic and social change as the country emerges from tough times
Kutaisi is Georgia's second-biggest city with around 200,000 residents and is situated 125 miles west of Tbilisi, the country's capital.
Georgia has been caught up in global economic and political upheavals. Until the 1990s part of the Soviet Union, it has also had a civil war in Abkhazia which lead to an estimated 4,000 internally displaced families moving to Kutaisi. There is high unemployment and the welfare state does not reach all those it should.
Many children lose the care of their parents, including those with disabilities, and those from poor or dysfunctional families frequently end up in this situation. The state by its own admission being unable to reach everyone in need, some parents find themselves unable to meet their children's basic needs.
SOS Children's work in Kutaisi
The Georgian government has been working with us to provide the best possible care for children and families. It donated us a tract of land on which to build the Children's Village in Kutaisi. Core to our work is provision of support to vulnerable families and helping children who are unable to live with their parents.
Together with the lcoal authorities and other service providers, we reach out to families across the region most in need of our support. We offer family strengthening programmes which are designed to help families overcome adversity and stay together. We provide everything from material support in the form of clothes and food packages to educational support and access to health care for children. We also run vocational training and career counselling so that parents and carers can earn a decent living. We also work with communities to ensure that their vulnerable members have someone to turn to in times of need.
Our Children's Village provides family homes
In our Children's Village, we care for children who have been orphaned and abandoned. They are cared for in a family environment and engage with the community by attending school and playing a role in local activities as they would living with their parents. SOS Mothers are trained to create emotionally stable relationships in a nurturing and secure environment. Alongside the 12 family homes in the Village we also have eight homes which are integrated into the local community.
Support for young people
When children reach an age where they require greater independence we offer them places on our SOS youth programme. This is a system of shared, supported accommodation where young adults can attend further education or vocational training, while being given guidance by qualified youth counsellors in making the right decisions in life.
Emergency assistance to mothers and children
We run a special Mother and Child Centre which gives shelter to mothers and children at risk. Over the course of a year, they are given full support until they are in a position to begin an independent life.
Vulnerable children in Georgia need your support. Sponsor a child today, and look forward to regular updates and photos from Kutaisi.