Akhaltzikhe (Agenzia Fides) - "There are hardly any job opportunities here, so many young people tend to leave the country. In this context, however, there are also families with disabled members who live in extreme difficulties: their average pension is 60 euros per month, and that is not enough to have regular medical appointments, to buy medicines or other supplies. The Camillian missionaries want to remedy this by offering a service to the disabled and the poorest," says Father Pawel Dyl, Superior of the Camillians in Georgia, interviewed by Fides on the recent inauguration of the Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Center built by the Spiritual heirs of Saint Camillus in the town of Akhaltzikhe, about two hundred kilometers from the capital Tblisi. "For these people - says Father Pawel - it would have been difficult to come to the capital for rehabilitation treatment. Located in the Samtskhe-Javaketi region, Akhaltzikhe is characterized by mountainous territory and a very harsh climate. The majority of the population," the Catholic priest continued, "is socially disadvantaged and mainly works in agriculture. Moving from here comes with high costs that many families cannot afford, and it is precisely for these reasons that disabled people who need special or long-term rehabilitative care often forgo treatment and are left without help". To meet this need, the Camillian Missionaries, also thanks to the support of the diocese and some benefactors, decided to build a new, larger day care and rehabilitation center that was officially inaugurated last May 25th: "The Building" , Father Dyl told Fides, "is 1400 square meters, it will be the only one in the region and during the day it will care for 30 disabled people and 500 other patients, including children and adults, in the physiotherapy, speech therapy, psychology and occupational therapy clinics". The condition of disability in the country is still the subject of prejudices: "In Georgia," says the religious - for a certain period the suffering was experienced as 'god-given punishment'. Here, we want to change this mentality, because the suffering that the Good Samaritan encounters can change the lives of both. We want to share the gospel message that God is always at the side of the sufferer and suffers with the sufferer". The land on which the recently opened center stands was donated by the local bishop, Bishop Giuseppe Pasotto, while the work was financed by the German Renovabis Foundation, the Italian Bishops' Conference, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Madian Orizzonti Missioni Camilliane Onlus Foundation. "There are still many abandoned areas," concludes Father Dyl, "where we want to go: we have recently started caring for the sick in the southern region, but we are aware that this great Sea of Mercy, of which Saint Camillus said is still to be explored. There is still so much to do". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 11/6/2022)
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