Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, at the crossroads of East and West and the Global North and Global South, the tiny Georgian nation has been at the mercy of its largely hostile and powerful neighbors for more than 2,000 years. Georgians were among the first peoples to embrace Christianity. The nation’s preeminent institution, the Orthodox Church, has helped create, develop, nurture and protect its unique identity and culture. Unlike its neighbor, Armenia, which is ethnically homogenous, Georgia is home to communities of Armenians, Assyro-Chaldeans, Azeris, Russians and Ukrainians.

CNEWA has partnered with Georgia’s small, but dynamic and ethnically diverse Catholic community since the collapse of communism and the end of the civil war in the early 1990s. Together with its Armenian, Assyro-Chaldean and Roman Catholic communities, and through their social service charity, Caritas Georgia, CNEWA has brought dignity, hope and help to vulnerable men, women and children throughout Georgia, regardless of religious identity. 

Poverty indicators published by the National Statistics Office of Georgia in 2023 indicate 11.8 percent of the population lives under the absolute poverty line, down nearly 10 percentage points since 2020. However, Caritas Georgia’s on-the-ground network of staff and volunteers believes the current incidence of poverty is higher than officially stated.

Recent legislation, which has prompted demonstrations and fears of a pullback from democratic reforms, threatens the work of the nation’s nongovernmental organizations, including Caritas Georgia.

Responding to Human Needs

CNEWA sponsors rehabilitation programs for single mothers and support for their children; provides food, health care and counseling to the elderly and those with special needs; and helps children through counseling, education and guidance.

youth seated at a table work on crafts.
Students attend an art class at the Caritas Georgia Harmony Day Center in Tblilisi. (photo: Antonio di Vico)

Accompanying the Church

We support priests, religious men and women and lay formators, who work among those in need, offering counsel and support, sustaining them with the sacraments and providing parish youth with programs to enhance their learning and development, especially in Georgia’s remote villages. 

Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari visits with the sacristan of the Armenian Catholic Church in southern Georgia.
Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari visits with the sacristan of the Armenian Catholic Church in southern Georgia who, throughout the Soviet period, kept the church open. (photo: Michael J.L. La Civita)

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