“Gumbati” social enterprise operating in Tsalka

This painted building was just a residential house years ago. Today, the social enterprise “Gumbati” (Cupola, dom) operates here.

The occurrence of a social enterprise of the same name in the village of Gumbati of Tsalka municipality became the basis for changes. The enterprise opened the door to the residents of Tsalka in 2016.

Young teacher Ira Dzirkvadze is one of the active representatives of “Gumbati”. She says: “The social enterprise is a centre of formal and informal education for the population of Tsalka”.

“Discover Your Village” is one of their first projects. Within its framework, the representatives of the enterprise visited 5 villages of Tsalka. Stories heard from locals were recorded, photos were taken and an exhibition of photo stories was organized.

As far as  “Gumbati” is oriented on the development of young people, this project was tailored to them. The second part of the given project was dedicated to elaboration and review of the youth’s applications. As a result, Tsalka’s young people turned part of their ideas into reality.

The activity of the enterprise was diverse even during the pandemic. The idea of a “literate florist” was heard at that time.

“Gumbatians” sent books, stationery and flower seedlings to about 120 students from seven villages, and taught them how to use online platforms. In addition, 2 months of internet expenses were paid to those students who were in need. They helped the ethnic minorities by providing correct and timely information about the virus.

Also, the bringing of drinking water to the school by “Gumbati” representatives is a well-known fact to Tsalka residents. If before the population had to go to the end of the village to fetch water, now they only have to go to the centre.

The project “Goods of Cinema” (Kino’s Madli) implemented together with the Tetritskaro Youth Center turned out to be interesting.

Within its framework, young people met actors and directors and get familiar with the world of cinema.

Ira Dzirkvadze discusses the outputs conditioned by the functioning of the enterprise in the Municipality.

Gumbati brought the changes and we start to discuss and share our experience in the direction of social entrepreneurship. We often visit various volunteers from European countries and Tsalka young people also are sent by us to Europe within the framework of different projects. Also, we often host guests and share our experiences. In my opinion, the existence of “Gumbati” in Tsalka put a very important brick in the formation of informal education during these six years” – Ira Dzirkvadze.

Tsitsino Gobadze, the founder of “Gumbati”, is also actively involved in the activities of the organization. Like Ira, she combines teaching with active citizenship.

We also talk about the experience of social enterprise with her. We are told that “Gumbati” made “Gumbatoba”   a traditional holiday.

“Gumbatoba”, which we turned into a traditional holiday is special for me. Eco-migrants are still in the process of establishing themselves in Tsalka, it is important to hold such events that will help the population to settle here, love this region and integrate with the local population. “Gumbatoba”, which takes place every September, serves this purpose. The residents living in the village of Gumbati are gathering. We invite those who have lived here and left as well as the residents of neighbouring villages – we have exhibitions, musical performances and sports activities” – Tsitsino Gobadze.

Residents of “Gumbati” have other new incentives today as well. One of them is the development of socio-emotional skills in students while the study of Georgian language and literature. Teachers from different villages are involved in the project.

The founder Tsitsino Gobadze says that the enterprise is going to assist the youth of Tsalka in developing their professional skills.

“The young people of the region have no access to professional development. The development of entrepreneurial skills and thinking means an active life oriented on development. There are a lot of young people with various professional skills. Developing these skills will help them to find their place and establish themselves. I would like to develop social enterprise in this direction, and open vocational courses to promote the development of the entrepreneurial skills of women and young people. Additionally, I want to allocate more space, and organize a training place, both in the building and in the yard” – Tsitsino Gobadze.

Ira Dzirkvadze emphasizes the fact that working in a mountainous village far from the city centre is associated with challenges. As she says: “There is a lack of human resources, and for ex.: one person has to perform accounting activities, organize the project and then implement it.”

Despite the difficulties, “Gumbati” is fully aware of its role and mission in multi-ethnic, multi-religious Tsalka.

Author: Guranda Phutkaraya

Azerbaijani translation: Chuchak Guseynova

English translation: Tamar Cherkezishvili

The article was created with the support of the Civil Society Institute, within the framework of the project “Civil Society Initiative: Sustainable, Open and Accountable Civil Society Organizations for the Development of Georgia” funded by the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Kvemo Kartli media is solely responsible for its content and it may not reflect the views of the EU and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The project is implemented by a consortium led by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) together with the following non-governmental organizations – Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Civil Society Institute (CSI), Counseling and Training Center (CTC), Education Development and Employment Center (EDEC) and European Institute of Policy (IEP).