For 27-year-old Pato Imedashvili, from Omalo village, Akhmeta municipality, morning starts very early. There is a lot of work to do… She has five children, one of which she has to see off to school, two others to kindergarten. Seven-month-old Hamza is the youngest of the family members. Pato’s mother-in-law helps her with parenting duties.
When Pato had her fifth child, the EU-funded “Kakheti Regional Development Foundation” donated her a gift set. Pato says that without support of this organisation, she would be unable to buy quality goods for her baby.
“I knew nothing about this project,” she says. “I learned about it this summer, when I had my baby. They called me and said that they were going to donate the gift set; I was waiting impatiently. I was surprised, as they gave me so many things. I used everything. I examined the present together with my children. It is very difficult to buy quality goods like those they donated. So, I say many thanks to Kakheti Regional Development Foundation. In addition, I attended a training, also arranged by this organisation, where paediatricians taught us lots about taking care of children. I have raised four children and I thought I knew a lot, but after this training I understood that this was not true. I learned many new things. For example, I thought I had to use an ointment as a first aid for burns, but they explained that they need cold water first.”
Markha Kavtarashvili, 20, lives in Birkiani village, also in Akhmeta municipality. She has five-month-old baby. Prior to having her baby, she learned dressmaking skills together with her mother and aunt at the Duisi Educational Centre founded by Kakheti Regional Development Foundation, and completed nursing courses there too. Now, she sews the clothes she needs for her baby herself. Based on Markha’s recommendation, her neighbours have also completed vocational training at the Duisi Educational Centre.
We were surprised at the variety of flowers in Markha’s house. Her mother-in-law arranged them for her in her small conservatory, and Markha takes care of the flowers herself.
“Almost everybody in the [Pankisi] Gorge knows about Kakheti Regional Development Foundation – they do a great job,” says Markha. “At first, before having my baby, I used to visit the centre. I learned sewing and dressmaking there, then I did the nursing course. When I had my baby, they came and brought presents. Most of all, I was pleased with a baby carrier that I use all the time. I can put my baby in the carrier when I take her out, or even at home. I cannot afford to buy a bed so far, and so I put the baby to sleep in this carrier. We could not afford to buy so many comfortable things.
I also attended the training held by this organisation. I received lots of advice from the paediatrician, made some notes as well. I learned how to understand when a baby has earache, learned to understand what troubles a baby. I think, when my child grows up, I’ll definitely use my knowledge from Duisi Educational Centre and start to work, if I have a chance.”
“Improving health and educational development possibilities for disadvantaged mothers and children” is the title of the project through which Pato and Markha’s babies received their gift sets. This project was also implemented by the EU-funded Kakheti Regional Development Foundation. In 2018, a total of 60 beneficiaries have been supported in Akhmeta, Gurjaani and Telavi municipalities.
“The EU has been financing this project since 2016. The partner organisations are the “Innovations and Reforms Centre” and “Europe Justice and Human Rights International Justice Institute”. The main objective of this project is to help women and children. 60 gift packages have been handed out; we have only two more to deliver. This year’s supply is almost complete, but the project will continue next year and 60 gift packages will be handed out again. The first criterion for receiving this support is that the family has to be disadvantaged. Some families may not have this status, but based on the family conditions, they can [still] benefit from this,” explains Tamara Bekauri, Director of Kakheti Regional Development Foundation.
She also says that, in addition to the gift sets, the EU funded training courses where mothers received both interesting and essential information about how to care for their babies.
“The training courses were held for mothers and prospective mothers too. Partner organisations selected good paediatricians to conduct the training courses. Many mothers do not know how to feed a baby, at what age to take them for vaccinations, etc. They receive information regarding the needs of children under the age of six. The parents also had the opportunity to bring their children to paediatricians for consultations. 150 women were trained in 2018 and similar activities will be continued in 2019. Three grant projects have also been implemented through EU funding: “Implementation of effective medical services of paediatric neurological care and support their functioning” in Gurjaani; “Inclusive education in museums of Georgia” in Telavi; and “Doctors and right defenders for sexual education and reproductive health of women and girls” in Akhmeta.
“I would like to take advantage of the opportunity and mention that the EU financially supported the founding of two learning centres in the villages of Duisi and Jokholo,” says Tamara. “Interested individuals can receive free training here; we have both vocational and educational programmes. High school graduates receive free training at the learning centre. This year, our 31 graduates enrolled in universities and two of them received full grants. We are very proud, as we have retrained these children”, says Tamara.
If needed, Kakheti Regional Development Foundation offers psychologist’s consultations to all women residing in the region. The organisation is ready to provide support to all interested individuals. You can make a call to 599 96 71 79 or send a message to their official Facebook page.
Author: Tamara Kapanadze
Article published in Georgian by Newpress.ge