Since its creation 22 years ago, Caritas Georgia has always been living with its beneficiaries. The inspiration stemming from grassroots people has been reflected in the many successful projects implemented by the organisation. During the past years, Caritas Georgia has experienced changes that have turned into remarkable moments, including the historical visit of Pope Francis.
Changes and achievements for people in need
Caritas Georgia has been working hard to provide the very best service for its beneficiaries. As a result, the organisation has entered into an organisational development phase.
Important changes took place in 2016. A new director, Anahit Mkhoyan, was appointed. An organisational assessment was conducted and the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 was approved.
Moreover, during the first half of 2016, Caritas Georgia regained its charitable status, started the development of a volunteering system and received a new European Voluntary Service accreditation to host international volunteers.
We are now coming closer to our vision of a Caritas Georgia that plays a significant role in our country. Our Director Anahit Mkhoyan describes it as follows: “what we are tackling, what we are doing has no national distribution. The need is different for human beings, but human beings that need assistance support to strive their life are everywhere. Poverty, disability, people in need, youngsters who need support, community structures that need to be improved are everywhere. I think for Georgia, also, Caritas is important to help those who are in need”.
Hence, the action of Caritas Georgia greatly depends on the necessity of our communities. For this reason, we have launched new projects on infrastructure and community development, on assistance of vulnerable mothers and children, as well as on youth education. For the future, we are planning more activities that take into account the necessities of grassroots people.
Pope Francis’ visit to Georgia: “the poor and the weak are the ‘flesh of Christ’
The visit of Pope Francis in Tbilisi, from 30 September to 2 October 2016 was a remarkable moment in the history of Caritas Georgia. The messages of His Holiness encouraged and inspired members and beneficiaries of the organisation.
Pope Francis’ address to Patriarch Ilia II was very important to us as he mentioned the centuries-long presence of Catholic Church in Georgia and its commitment to contribute to the well-being and peace of the nation through its institutional and charitable works: “there has been a strengthening of the meaningful ties that have existed between our communities since the first centuries of Christianity. These bonds have been consolidated and are characterized by cordiality and respect, evident in the warm welcome given here to my envoys and representatives”.
The Holy Father also highlighted the importance of relationship and love in our communities: “the Lord has given this love to us, so that we can love each other as he has loved us [cf. Jn 15:12]. In this regard, it is as if the great poet of this land, Shota Rustaveli, is speaking to us with some of his renowned words: "Have you read how the Apostles write about love, how they speak, how they praise it? Know this love, and turn your mind to these words: love raises us up” [The Knight in the Tiger’s Skin, verse 791]. Truly, the love of the Lord raises us up, because it enables us to rise above the misunderstandings of the past, above the calculations of the present and fears for the future”.
On 1 October, His Holiness met charity workers, including Caritas Georgia’s director, staff and beneficiaries, in the rehabilitation centre of St. Camillo in Tbilisi. There, he expressed his deep gratitude: “You represent a variety of charitable centers in the country: male and female religious institutes, Caritas, Church associations and other organisations, and groups of volunteers. To each one I offer my appreciation for your generous commitment to those most in need”.
During the event an emotional performance was held by the talented beneficiaries of Caritas Georgia and St. Camillo Center.
Our future is the future of our beneficiaries. The major strength that has the organisation is its closeness to the grassroots people. Caritas Georgia comes through all the challenges, changes, experiences, and achievements with its beneficiaries. The power that the organisation receives from their success stories results into ongoing successful projects and future ones that Caritas Georgia aims to develop.