City Hall aid to disabled out of the ordinary
By Shorena Labadze
Thursday, June 19Tbilisi City Hall donated a slew of gifts to disabled citizens in the last week to mark an international day of aid, but local NGO workers say government support is the exception, not the rule.
City Hall and the international aid agency Save the Children sponsored a June 14 concert in Vake Park.
“This day is crucially important for any member of the society,” said the chief of Tbilisi City Hall’s social services, Mamuka Katsarava. “We must help these people integrate with society. They must feel themselves as having equal rights as other people.”
Alongside the concert was an exhibition and sale of crafts made by disabled children.
Among other charitable gifts, City Hall representatives donated seven laptops to an organization which helps disabled children improve their social abilities.
“I can’t put in the words how happy I am. Thank you so much for such presents,” said one of the recipients, Khatuna Garutsava, who uses a wheelchair.
City Hall also promised to pay for the treatment of a seriously ill boy, and gave a wheelchair to a man who had needed one for 33 years.
“I can’t express my happiness properly. As of today, I can go outside. It was a dream until now,” said the man, Malkhaz Dvalishvili said.
A city official said the charitable actions would continue regularly.
But the head of the NGO A Child and Environment, Nana Iashvili, said she worries the government cannot be counted on to regularly help the disabled.
Iashvili said her organization received one-off funding from the Education Minister, and local government gave shoes and toys about a month ago.
“But I think this acts happen only once. We don’t get any kind of humanitarian aid from them regularly,” Iashvili told the paper.