I am Tamar Kantaria, I live in the village of Ganmukhuri, I am the head of the initiative group Elva. Our activities and the creation of a civic center are related to 2013, when Taso Foundation entered the village of Ganmukhuri. The first meeting was held in a rural school. For some reason I became very interested and because of this interest I stayed at the meeting. From today’s perspective, I can boldly say that today I am radically different from that old Tamar. So are other women in our community because now we are always trying to express ourselves.
I want many more active women to appear, because the needs we see with our own eyes are completely different. During this time, many needs were identified and many were resolved for the good of the community.
I have not stopped since I found myself in the civil sector. They even ask me if I have a family. Yes, I do and it is possible to have been actively involved in civic activities and to have a family, one does not interfere with the other.
I want to emphasize that we have a very good team, we have active young people. Our main activities are: empowering women, providing information, working with young people in terms of education. As we are a border village, we try to provide young people with access to resources on the spot. Too many young people have left the village, however, with school children who are still here, active work is being done, we are also working with kindergarten children.
Migration is a big problem in the village, not only young people but also women leave mainly for the reason of getting employed. Unfortunately, resolving the issue of migration is beyond our power, but our goal is to be able to find ourselves wherever we go, to be there and to be strong, not to stop thinking about our own community.
I am originally from the village of Jvari and I had a very good childhood, I did not feel lack of anything, but when I got here, it was a very difficult situation. There was nothing for the kids, we didn’t even have a kindergarten. The women did not speak Georgian because speaking Georgian was considered meticulous. It was even harder to get out of the house. I laugh now, but if a woman went to a meeting from home, she had to say she was going to school, or church, because the whole village thought these meetings were useless, and attending there was associated with time-wastes. However, I did not care much. I would like to say that the meeting with the head of Taso Foundation, Ms. Marina Tabukashvili, was a bright ray in my life.
Then came the idea to set up a computer center. I remember with scarcity how we tried to learn to work with a computer. There were so many things that we thought were incredible, like writing a project. How can you write a project when you can not even type the text?
One of the biggest achievements in cooperation with Taso Foundation was the establishment of our community center. Prior to that, the village did not have a gathering place. We used to gather here and teach the children to work with the computer, manage film screenings, share experiences. As part of Resolution 13/25, we took the initiative to restore the Ganmukhuri Bridge. Today we have a new bridge, we have internet in the village, we have gas. The population also became more active. Today this is not what Ganmukhuri was in 2013. The consciousness of the community has completely changed.
We also work with the IDPs. The IDPs who are in our community, with our help and advocacy received housing. We try to be where the need arises.
We are now going to register as an organization because we believe we have the relevant experience and base to do so.
I am very grateful to all the organizations that have “adopted” me and contributed to my development, including Taso Foundation, the UN Women, the Association Consent, the Nefa Foundation and the Neogen, where I am currently receiving much-needed and important trainings to enhance competencies. It can be said that a family member will not support a person the way these organizations and their team members have supported me.