Ketevan Gigineishvili is the office manager for our partner organization, The Association for People in Need of Special Care (APNSC), in Tbilisi, Georgia. APNSC is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1990. They run a day center that provides educational and therapeutic opportunities for people with physical and mental disabilities. Currently, the organization cares for 54 clients, all of whom are above the age of 16.
Ketevan, how did you come to the field of social work?
Initially, I studied languages, but I didn’t enjoy that major as much as I anticipated, so I looked for a change. I was very interested in social work, which in Georgia is not common. So, when an opportunity arrived to study social work at university, I immediately applied. I think of my career as a fantastic way to help people!
Will you please tell us about the people that work at APNSC.
Our organization has 25 employees. Most of our staff are trained therapists and social workers. Our management team consists of our organizational director, an accountant, and myself. Thankfully, our office work is not overwhelming, so we’re able to spend lots of time caring for our clients. It is very difficult to do social work here in Georgia because it’s a completely new profession. We lack quality training programs and cultural awareness. In spite of this, we are working very hard to meet European standards.
How is the center financed?
We receive monetary support from private donors and have a few large international donors. A portion of our funding comes from Georgia’s Ministry of Health and Social Care. We also earn money through our small micro-enterprise, where we sell handcrafted art and other goods produced by our clients themselves! Additionally, families are responsible for paying a small portion of the program costs, although this isn’t the case for every family we work with, as many of them live below the poverty line.
Who are your international supporters?
Currently, the German organization Bread for the World, is our largest donor. They provide 65% of our international funding. Our other partners are the Czech Development Agency, German Charitas, and of course, Diaconia-CRD.
How has Diaconia-CRD helped APNSC plan for the future?
Diaconia-CRD has been helping us since 2012. At the beginning of our partnership, they provided the funds for us to purchase much-needed program materials and later offered us training courses and best-practice exchange workshops. Since 2013, they have been working with our administration to help us develop a strategic plan. Prior to 2013, we did not have a strategic plan. While we knew what we wanted the future of the organization to look like, our goals did not have a concrete form. We know that in order for us to be as self-sustaining as possible, it is crucial for us to plan for the future. We will work step-by-step to implement the vision of our strategic plan.
Recently, APNSC staff came to the Czech Republic to attend various trainings and workshops. What was the most important aspect of your trip?
We learned about developing fundraising strategies so that we can survive if we lose the support of our large international partners. It was very helpful for us to learn more about how to attract and work with donors. But the most important part of the trip was seeing firsthand that it is possible to build our organization in the image we want. Learning from and speaking with people who were in the same position as us a few years ago was inspiring. We received a lot of excellent information and now have many new ideas of how to progress into the future.