Project Description

Gathe­ring at the Com­mu­nity Cen­ter

The child­ren of Tsint­s­karo are sho­w­ing a great sense of com­mu­nity throughout the ages. Apart from child­ren of all ages sin­ging toge­ther at the com­mu­nity cen­ter and the sining clas­ses at the school, the faci­lity its­elf is a gathe­ring place for them. It inclu­des a gym, that is mostly used by the older juve­ni­les, that are inte­rested in sports. — They can do weight trai­ning here, apart from the regu­lar wrest­ling trai­ning at the school-gym.
More­o­ver, the com­mu­nity cen­ter has its own library that is con­stantly gro­wing, with the help of Taso Foun­da­tion. The kids can satisfy their curio­sity and urge for know­ledge here and as a result of that, learn new things, apart from the con­tents they learn in school.
One thing, which is inte­res­ting for all ages, are the com­pu­ters. The child­ren can use the inter­net here, which is a really spe­cial thing, as inter­net access is not com­mon for the aver­age hou­se­holds, espe­cially in rural areas. — The kids can search for inte­res­ting things online and also find infor­ma­ti­ons they need for home­work and other things. — Here, the youth groups con­stantly write and work on com­mu­nity pro­jects and app­li­ca­ti­ons for grants, as well.

Vol­un­tee­rism in Geor­gia

As vol­un­tary work is not very popu­lar in Geor­gia, one of the most import­ant aims of Taso Foun­da­tion is approa­ching a sense of vol­un­ta­rism in the society. „If you think of Geor­gia, in terms of vol­un­tee­rism, there is not much action that people are taking. There are some people who are always say­ing, that there is no vol­un­tee­rism in Geor­gia at all, but we can share some good examp­les and have a huge list of young people all over Geor­gia, who are doing abso­lu­tely ama­zing work“, Nino Ugrek­he­l­idze says. — For her­self, the phil­an­thropy (huma­ni­ta­ria­nism) is of the most import­ant aspects, and con­nec­ting the vol­un­te­ers and take actions is on of the key moments.
The­re­fore, Nino is the main con­nec­tion bet­ween the youth in Tsint­s­karo and the Taso Foun­da­tion. She is cur­rently doing PR for the orga­niza­t­ion, as well as found rai­sing and the coor­di­na­tion of the youth edu­ca­tio­nal pro­grams. More­o­ver, she does the moni­to­ring eva­lua­tion of the people in Tsint­s­karo. — „An import­ant aspect is sup­porting and deve­lo­ping the skills of these young people in Tsint­s­karo, because for instance, they can pre­sent their own ideas and write pro­ject for crea­tive fund­rai­sing“, she explains.

The num­ber of the vol­un­te­ers is con­stantly chan­ging, because some of the vol­un­te­ers are beco­m­ing stu­dents and go to Tbi­lisi, some of them are get­ting mar­ried at an early age, which we are try­ing to prevent, but in gene­ral, most of them are going to the capi­tal city to get edu­ca­tion; there are only few people who are stay­ing in Tsint­s­karo“, Nino explains. — This is why the vol­un­tary work needs to be „more diverse, more inte­res­ting and more inter­ac­tive.“

Nowa­days, we have 14 orga­niza­t­i­ons united in the net­work of com­mu­nity foun­da­ti­ons, which is the first time in Geor­gia. It’s a deve­lop­ment of com­mu­nity phil­an­thropy (huma­ni­ta­ria­nism), mea­ning a hori­zon­tal sprea­ding of values, activism and sup­port given to dif­fe­rent com­mu­nities. — So far, up to 100 vil­la­ges are covered with that net­work.“ — Marina Tabu­kash­vili

Youth Groups in Tsint­s­karo

The 24 year old Nana Ste­p­liani, daugh­ter of Tsi­uri Dev­da­riani, is one of the youn­ger vil­la­gers, who are try­ing to work actively on com­mu­nity pro­blems, as well. Because of all the work Nora, Neli and Tsi­uri alre­ady did toge­ther with the women in their aid groups until that point in time, the young IDPs were moti­va­ted and felt the desire to create their own youth groups to address pro­blems con­cerning their needs and issues. This is why the Taso Foun­da­tion inten­si­vely star­ted working with youth groups of vol­un­te­ers in Tsint­s­karo since 2011, simul­ta­neously to the work with the women groups. — The work with the youn­ger gene­ra­tion is an import­ant field of the orga­niza­t­ion, and both groups are kind of obli­ged to mutually sup­port each other.

Because of her expe­ri­en­ces with vol­un­tary work and the par­ti­ci­pa­tion in many mee­ting of the women’s groups, Nana basi­cally became the head of the youth groups, even though they are still moni­to­red by Nino. „All the kids and young people are invol­ved as vol­un­te­ers“, Nana says, and one of her main aims is get­ting to know young people from other vil­la­ges. The youth groups mana­ged to meet them, and they shared infor­ma­ti­ons to raise awa­ren­ess about the cir­cum­stan­ces in Tsint­s­karo. After wri­ting a monthly news­pa­per in the past, a year­long sum­mery about the work the youth groups do, inclu­ding arti­cles and pic­tures, is writ­ten now. „We haven’t publis­hed it yet, because we need a color prin­ter so the publis­hed pic­tures will turn out well“, Nana explains, so one of the main focu­ses of the youth group is recei­ving a grant for that device.

Self-cont­ri­bu­tion is an import­ant aspect, and more import­ant for the youth in Tsint­s­karo, as someone just giving them direc­tions. By enab­ling cont­ri­bu­tive par­ti­ci­pa­tion, the young people of the vil­lage rea­lize, that they have an import­ant role in the society. An exam­ple that Nino Ugrek­he­l­idze men­ti­ons for that, is the reno­va­tion of a buil­ding in Tsint­s­karo. Here, the mem­bers of the youth groups were the ones who were pain­ting the walls, and choo­sing the colors; they were the ones to decide about the pla­ce­ment of fur­ni­ture and espe­cially this appre­cia­tion makes the child­ren take even more care of their achie­ve­ments and rein­forces the vol­un­ta­ris­tic spi­rit. — Because of all the pre­vious vol­un­tary work Nana did, she was sup­po­sed to moni­to­ring the pro­jects that were given grants.

Nana: about her work with Taso Foun­da­tion.

An import­ant resource for the com­mu­ni­ca­tion bet­ween the orga­niza­t­ion and the young vol­un­te­ers in the vil­lage, is the inter­net and espe­cially social media plat­forms, as regu­larly mee­tings with the repre­sen­ta­ti­ves are quiet dif­fi­cult, based on the dis­tance bet­ween Tsint­s­karo and Tbi­lisi. Through social media, Taso Foun­da­tion is sharing new oppor­tu­nities and new ideas with the youth. For exam­ple, there are many ques­tio­na­ries that the juve­ni­les can fill out, to find out about which pro­fes­sion fits to them, or which pro­fes­si­ons are nee­ded in the coun­try right now. More­o­ver, they can find out about which grants the govern­ment is giving, or if there are afforda­ble or even non-cont­ri­bu­tory stu­dy­ing oppor­tu­nities. — „We are not giving direc­tions, we are just sho­w­ing the oppor­tu­nities, and then it is up to the juve­ni­les to decide. We give them the chance to look at the opti­ons, and see­ing the opti­ons they have is import­ant. Some­ti­mes there are oppor­tu­nities exactly for them, but they don’t know that they exist, so it’s a really import­ant for us to make a con­nec­tion bet­ween them and the exis­ting resour­ces. There are even some grants, pro­grams and scho­lar­ships which they can apply to, and are free of charge“, Nino out­lines.

Taso Foun­da­tion offers annu­ally sum­mer camps for people from youth groups from all dif­fe­rent kinds of sight in Geor­gia, that they are working with, as well. Unfor­t­u­n­a­tely, not all the mem­bers of the youth groups can be invi­ted to these camps, which is why sharing know­ledge is ano­ther key moment of their self-deve­lop­ment. — Taso Foun­da­tion is tel­ling the atten­ding mem­bers of the sum­mer camps to lis­ten to the things they are teaching them, and when they go back to they vil­la­ges and cities, they have to share the things they lear­ned.


For the youn­ger child­ren of the com­mu­nity, there is a Kin­der­gar­ten, just down the road from the com­mu­nity cen­ter. Here, child­ren from early age until pri­mary school age are taken care of during day­time, while the par­ents have to work.

The kin­der­gar­ten mainly con­sists in a two-story buil­ding; the ground-floor accom­mo­da­tes spaces for the todd­lers, like a play area with toys, that were also finan­ced through grants. The upper floor accom­mo­da­ted spaces for older child­ren. These are play areas and recrea­tion rooms, but also a dining area; the rest­rooms are loca­ted out­s­ide of the buil­ding, like it typi­cally is in Geor­gia. — The out­s­ide area of the Kin­der­gar­ten has a little play­ground with swings and out­door-play-equip­ment, that were (toge­ther with books and other toys) finan­ced through one of many grants, achie­ved through the efforts of the aid-groups; the about of money was 4000 Lari (about 1550€/1740$).

Child­ren, par­ents, other rela­ti­ves,  and the kin­der­gar­ten­ers.

All in all, the faci­lity its­elf (as well as the equip­ment) is very tenuous; the buil­ding is porous, the inter­nal spaces are small and espe­cially more toys are nee­ded for the child­ren. — Never­the­l­ess, the Kin­der­gar­ten teachers are try­ing to make the best of it and toge­ther with the child­ren they deco­ra­ted the walls and hung up pic­tures and han­di­craft work, to make the faci­lity more child-fri­endly and the most import­ant thing is, that the child­ren appeared fri­endly as well, as the kin­der­gar­ten teachers are really loving and caring. — Again, this shows the unity of the vil­la­gers. As it is a small vil­lage, ever­yone knows each other and the child­ren are not only regu­lar kin­der­gar­ten­ers, but also child­ren of the teachers fri­ends and some­ti­mes even family mem­bers, like own child­ren or nephews and nie­ces. — Madona Chkhv­imiani, the wife of the wrest­ling trai­ner Murad Gur­chiani is a kin­der­gar­ten teacher in this faci­lity, as well; most of the kids are Azer­bai­jani.

Just in 2016, due to the lack os space, a second small buil­ding with a size of about 60qm was build. Every child needs a cer­tain amount of lee­ways to be able to deve­lop fre­ely, and by enlar­ging the faci­li­ties, a new loca­tion to play and even to cele­brate com­mu­nity events was foun­ded.

Inside and out­s­ide of the kin­der­gar­ten.





by Nina Brink­mann, Karim Hap­pel and Mariam Mepa­rish­vili