Countdown to the 50th Consecutive Donation: No. 22 – Georgia 17/10/2007

For this donation, the Sunshine Appeal contributed to a shared effort with Tartan Tblisi.  First Step is a day care centre for mentally and physically disabled youngsters and below is an excerpt from the report in the Daily Record which covered the donation.

“THE Tartan Army scored an amazing victory in Georgia – before a ball was even kicked.  Citizens of this impoverished country have taken the travelling fans to their hearts for lavishing disabled children with clothes, toys and cash.

Locals turned out at Tbilisi Airport yesterday morning to welcome around 300 Scots with a medley of traditional folk songs.  And by the time the day was through, Georgian TV was broadcasting special news programmes about the generous visitors from afar.

Denis Keefe, Britain’s ambassador to Georgia, joined Scotland fans at a gift-delivery event for First Step, a day centre for mentally and physically disabled youngsters.  The 49-year-old diplomat said: “I think this is fantastic. These guys might be here for a football match but they are really helping to put Scotland on the map.  “Everything I had previously heard about the Tartan Army is true. They are brilliant ambassadors for their country.”

Several dozen travelling supporters got in some early practice at First Step, on the outskirts of Tbilisi.  They played Scotland the Brave on their pipes and encouraged the kids to beat the drum for their country.  Musician Craig Shepherd, 36, from Edinburgh, said: “It’s been a privilege to come here and share a little bit of Scotland with the kids.”

A hospital linked to the centre will receive baby care equipment costing £15,000 thanks to the generosity of the Scots.  Mum Nana Zakareishvili explained that until her 17-year-old son Mishiko was 14, he had nowhere to go during the day.  Nana, 35, said: “When First Step opened, he was able to come to school for the first time. I am very satisfied because he is learning skills and is happy to go to school every morning.  “It is very kind of your Scottish supporters to bring gifts to him and his friends today. We all know this is the country of the kilt.”

Original Full Story Here…

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