Volunteer 'Santas' Help Homeless Georgian Families
Published 31 December 2012
For more than two months, some 50 Georgian families who were living on the streets or unable to pay their rent have found shelter in an abandoned building that was once Tbilisi's Railway Hospital. The occupants have staged a series of protests to publicize their plight, with some protesters going on hunger strike. After RFE/RL correspondent Nino Tarkhnishvili reported on the families' situation, she began an online campaign seeking assistance for them. Dozens of RFE/RL listeners and web readers came forward with supplies and gifts to bring a little cheer into a difficult holiday season. (16 PHOTOS)
A child living in the former Railway Hospital in Tbilisi
The abandoned building still has electricity, but no running water.
The families living there heat their rooms with small wood-burning stoves.
Residents keep a store of firewood for heating during the cold winter weather.
On December 31, in response to an online campaign organized by RFE/RL's Georgian Service, dozens of volunteers came to a New Year's Eve party at the former hospital.
Volunteers put on their Santa hats to bring presents for the children at the Railroad Hospital.
Volunteer Santas bring in bags of gifts.
Children pose with their New Year's presents.