Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do the children in Georgia need help?
A: More than 23% of the population of Georgia lives below the poverty line (World Bank Databank, as of 2007). Many of them are living in extreme poverty. Many parents simply are not capable of providing the basic necessities for their children due to the economic conditions in Georgia. Some children are in orphanages because their parents cannot afford to feed and clothe them while others have parents who are unfit to care for them. Some were abandoned at birth or a young age because of economic hardship.
Q: Where is Georgia, anyhow?
A: Georgia is in Eastern Europe and used to be part of the Soviet Union. It shares its northern border with Russia and its southern border with Turkey and Armenia. Georgia’s western border is on the Black Sea and its eastern border is shared with Azerbaijan. The population of Georgia is a little less than 5 million people and the country is about the size of South Carolina. Georgia’s history dates back well over 1000 years and is rich in culture and tradition.
Q: In what specific ways does Divine Child help the children?
A: We are committed to giving the forgotten children of Georgia an opportunity for health and happiness. Our goal is to improve their physical environment by improving their home (their orphanage). The older institutional-style orphanages like Saguramo are in very poor physical condition. Here we have made repairs and upgrades to the building itself so that the children are warm and comfortable, and provide things like clothing, shoes, basic medical care, sports equipment and books.
Georgia has begun to move children into smaller family-style homes. Divine Child has committed to running two of these homes near Tbilisi under contract with the Georgian government. We will use our experience with Saguramo and funding from our donors to enhance the homes beyond the basics.
Q: Why is it important to improve the physical situation for the children?
A: Most of the children in the Georgian orphanages expend most of their energy just to survive. In the winter, they all huddle in one room around a leaky and smelly wood stove in an effort to stay warm. When we began our work at Saguramo, the orphanage only had one shower for 32 children and no hot water. They had no working toilets. Most only had the clothes on their backs and old and worn out shoes. They had none of the things American children have, such as toys, dolls, sports equipment, bicycles, and computers. Since we repaired the building’s exterior and installed central heating, hot water and nice bathrooms, we have observed real positive changes in the children’s learning, their self-esteem, and the perception of the orphans among the people who live in Saguramo. This perception change has in turn led to greater involvement of local folks in the lives of the children, to their great benefit.
Q: If I donate money to Divine Child, how much of it will actually reach the children?
A: Almost all of it. We have no paid employees, although we make a small monthly payment to Irma Barbakadze to represent us in Georgia. We spend almost nothing on administrative expenses. Our largest expense other than direct spending on the facility and the children is travel expenses. We do not just send money over to Georgia and hope it gets to the children. We physically go to Georgia, evaluate the needs in consultation with the orphanage’s director, ensure that contracts are completed properly and on time, and ensure that the money is in fact benefiting the children directly. Kelvin Pierce, the founder, has personally donated money to the foundation to cover the travel expenses so that more donated funds go directly to the children. You may request that your donation be restricted to a specific project or type of expense.
Q: Are there opportunities to volunteer?
A: Yes. Anyone who wishes can volunteer to help us further our efforts. We are in need of help with fund raising, administering to the needs of the children with medical care, mental health care and vocational training, etc. Volunteers with skills for building repairs would also be greatly appreciated.
Q: Do you accept donations of blankets, gifts, etcetera, or do you only accept monetary donations?
A: We have taken over several small loads of items such as clothes, toys, medicine when we travel to Georgia. Most of our relief supplies are purchased in Georgia or neighboring countries so monetary donations are most useful at this time. We are however, working on methods for shipping other donated items to Georgia but have not yet worked this out.
Q: Are there reasons to hope that things will get better for these children?
A: Indeed yes. We have high hopes for these children. We have seen what happens when people pull together to help and even though the need is great, it is not insurmountable. Our model for helping these children is working and will be used at other orphanages throughout Georgia and other countries.
Contact us if you have any other questions and we will get back to you as soon as we can.