2007 TartanTbilisi - Tuesday 16th October - First Step Print E-mail
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2007 TartanTbilisi
Tuesday 16th October - First Step
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We all met at 2pm at the building of the British Embassy who had arranged a minibus paid for by the generous employees of a company in the same building. With us we had various fans who had contributed over the summer: Jim Hart, Morag McLellan, Gerry Gahan, Allan Collins, Susan & David Donn, plus a few Scottish journalists. We were also joined by the Caledonian Brewery Pipe Band: Craig “Shakey” Steven, Derek Clark, Stewart Sutherland & Craig Shepherd.

We travelled the 20 mins journey to First Step – a day-centre set up by volunteers for handicapped children from various homes in Tbilisi. As in most ex-Soviet countries, handicapped children are commonly placed in homes by their families who cannot afford to bring them up – effectively they’re orphaned. Also common is a lack of state funding for these children who at times are forgotten by their societies.

What we found when we got there were loads of excited, happy and smiley children and for the next hour or so we all had a great party. The pipers were a massive hit – the kids had obviously never seen anything like it. They were also made up by the attention they were getting, and treated us to a game of 5 asides and a sing along inside. There was the formality of the presentation – via the Ambassador we gave a gift of a lawnmower to one of the young boys.....part of the charity's role is that once the children become adults they try and find them jobs in the outside world. Training one of the older boys to become a gardener they hoped, would help to make him a living once he was too old to live in the orphanage any longer. While he was still at the orphanage he could also tend their own lawns. 

Once indoors (it was freezing and it had started to rain) everyone tucked into a table full of treats – BBQ’d meat, cheesy bread and those horrible kebabs things in goo!

Steve Taylor spent a good hour making balloon animals ably assisted by the Ambassador’s wife on blowing up duty. Susan Donn did a spot of highland dancing to the pipe band, and then we all headed off, suitably cheered up.

The actual £5,000 donation will be made to Martkopi – an orphanage for handicapped children in desperate need of funding. We were only sorry not to be able to give them a party as well, but we’ll rectify that over Christmas.


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