Since 2007, The Divine Child Foundation has made a tangible difference in the lives of the children at Saguramo. Volunteers travel to Georgia several times a year, taking new clothing, toys and craft supplies, school supplies, . . .and the makings of Sandwich Day!
- The building is no longer leaky and crumbling.
- The electrical system is no longer dangerous and insufficient.
- There is heat in all the rooms, not just one.
- Hot water comes out of the taps in renovated bathrooms.
- There are good mattresses, blankets and pillows on the beds.
The building the children live in had 92 windows, most of which were broken or missing most of their glass so the wind and rain would blow right through the building. The roof was full of holes and the building’s foundations were crumbling from years of neglect. Thanks to our donors the children now have a secure, dry and air tight building to live in.
On their first working visit in November 2007, Gil and Kelvin discovered that the electrical system at the orphanage had shorted out, and been replaced with a single 14-gauge wire for the entire building. The main panel and sub-panels were dangerous and needed to be replaced. On that visit, Gil made changes to the existing system so that it was reasonably safe. Subsequently we replaced the panels and breakers, and made other repairs. The electrical system now supplies sufficient power for the building’s needs and is safe.
One room of the building was heated with a small stove; the rest of the rooms were so cold the children had to do their homework with coats and gloves on. Thanks to a successful auction fundraiser, Divine Child was able to contract with a local company to install a radiant heating system throughout the building.
About the new heating system, Gil Jullien reports:
“I visited the Saguramo Children’s House over the Christmas holiday just after the heating system had been installed. It was like a miracle! It changed everything for the children and the community. On December 27th, the day I arrived, the children put on a Christmas play for the entire community. Over 50 people came from the village, including many of the children’s teachers. The main hall on the second floor was warm and the children no longer needed their coats.
Finally, after many years, the children could be warm in the Saguramo Children’s House. They could study without frozen fingers, they could play without coats, and they could relax in front of a television like any other child, anywhere in the world.
On the night of December 31st, DCF funded the first traditional New-Year’s Dinner at Saguramo Children’s House. A tradition Lali has maintained since. It would never have happened without the new heat.”
Bathroom Renovation and Hot Water
Before the renovation, the bathrooms created a foul odor that permeated the entire building. The toilets were Turkish-style (a hole in the floor), and the flush mechanisms had been removed. The children flushed by dumping a bucket of water down the hole. There was no hot water available for handwashing or showering. We were able to install new modern fixtures throughout the bathrooms, with hot water.
Our first project, in September 2007, was to provide new bedding for all the children at Saguramo, and bicycles for the home. Their beds had no mattresses or very thin ones in poor condition. Most of them had no pillows. We purchased mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets locally. On the same trip we also bought a number of bicycles for the children. At Christmas time we returned to Saguramo with donated gifts to celebrate with the children.
The first “American Sandwich Day” at Saguramo was February 3, 2009. The children were unfamiliar with American-style sandwiches; they’re not a staple of Georgian cuisine. Gil thought it would be fun to have a sandwich party. It was a big hit and became a tradition; now every time Gil goes to Saguramo he carries a cooler filled with cheeses, lunchmeats and condiments, and the children have a party!