Visit the Shaumian Education Community Center to witness an 80-year-old learning the art of weaving a carpet. This center, established in 2010, provides a range of courses, activities, and events tailored for women and beyond.
The community center operates in Marneuli, Shaumiani IDP settlement.
Natia Okropiridze, the director of the “Shaumian Education Community Center,” shared with us the origin and purpose of the center.”As a result of the 2008 war, IDPs from Little and Big Liakhvi Valley moved to Shaumian, Koda. “Shaumian Education Community Center” was opened with the financial support of DVV International in order to integrate them with the locals.
Our goal is the integration and improvement of the quality of life of internally displaced persons, national minorities, eco-migrants – by raising the level of education and development” – Natia Okropiridze.
The center provides a wide range of projects to the community, including tours, competitions, and training courses, which help make community life more engaging and exciting.
As Natia Okropiridze points out: “The centre gives people the opportunity to study various professions or develop skills to be able to find a job, as well as to start their own business.”
The centre is actively working towards the development of the community in multiple areas. An example of this is the two-year project, where citizens identified, studied and advocated for issues on the ground. Additionally, the project helped in arranging the necessary training equipment on site.
The community center was active even during the pandemic. With the funding of the Women’s Fund, online training on women’s labour rights was conducted. It was attended by locals, eco-migrants living in Khikhani and internally displaced women living in Shaumian.
English, handicrafts and financial education courses were also held in the village of Khikhan. Georgian language, culinary and psychology courses were held in Tsitelsopheli
“We try to cover the places where events are not held actively” says the director of the community center. “Shaumian Community Education Center” also implemented the project “Women’s Power, Women’s Future”. Its main objective is to promote the growth of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge of local women.
The center is involved in a GIZ-funded project: “Economic and Social Involvement of Internally Displaced Persons in the Caucasus.”
The project aims to increase social engagement among the local and displaced community. As part of this initiative, the Shaumian Youth Club was established. The youth club members participate in environmental events with great enthusiasm. On the Day of Environment Protection, they organized multiple cleaning actions in the Shaumiani IDP settlement.
The community project “Listen to Me” was tailored to the interests of the locals. The project “Strengthening the displaced and local community in Georgia, improving the quality of life and supporting their public life” was implemented by DVV International with the financial support of GIZ.
Earlier this year in April, the “Communities of Georgia, Sustainable Development of the Country” project organized a festival titled “Gender in Focus”. The festival included an exhibition and sale of artworks by local artists, as well as a media competition.
“Shaumiani Community Education Center” also took part in the charity festival organized by the population of Maradisi village and Eco Club “Mia”.
According to the director of the center, they will start actively implementing new projects in September.
Lili Melanashvili, the center’s project coordinator, also talks about the importance of “Shaumiani Community Education Center”: “The center is a space for both the elderly and the young, where they have the opportunity to develop new friendships, exchange ideas and relationships.”
Author: Guranda Phutkaraya
Azerbaijani translation: Chichak 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 fully responsible for its content and it may not reflect the views of the European Union or 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).
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