Social Entrepreneurship to tackle post-war recovery: EU4Youth highlights Georgian IDP experience in solidarity for Ukraine
The EU4Youth programme in Georgia last week organised a webinar on the topic of post-war recovery, organised in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, especially active and potential social entrepreneurs. The event was part of the EU-funded project, EU4Youth: Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development (SEED) for Green Growth in Borderline Regions.
The long history of social entrepreneurs has shown that they usually establish themselves during unstable, crisis situations to improve the lives and conditions of affected people. In 2008, Georgia suffered from the Russo-Georgian war. The Shida Kartli region, especially Gori Municipality, was heavily affected – with waves of migration, hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and unemployment. Despite the personal tragedies and economic hardships, many displaced people were able to establish businesses with social or environmental missions.
The webinar was streamed via Facebook and Zoom – more than 30 people attended on Zoom and over 800 people watched on Facebook Live. The meeting was translated into Ukrainian and will be shared with social enterprises based in Ukraine, aiming to give hope to the people of Ukraine through the practical, shared experiences of others.
As part of the webinar, four social entrepreneurs from Gori Municipality spoke about their enterprises and the lessons they have learnt. The speakers also highlighted the importance of persistence and resilience in social entrepreneurship.
Nino Giorgadze, founder of the Lemo sustainable sewing enterprise in Gori (EU4Youth-SEED beneficiary), was one of the first in the region to develop a textile recycling strategy. Their products have an immediately recognisable design and are made of natural materials. The images embroidered on them are specially designed to develop children’s social and cognitive skills. All their profits go towards empowering socially vulnerable women living in Gori Municipality who have been affected by war. The company employees are all IDPs from the 2008 conflict.
Ketevan Kvachantiradze from the village of Karaleti, founded the sustainable sewing enterprise Bamane (EU4Youth-SEED beneficiary). Ketevan used to have a sewing shop, and now sews sleeping bags for babies using leftover fabrics. “We are employing people in the region, and are planning to expand the enterprise to employ even more,” she said. “It’s important that our enterprise is located in Karaleti, just a few kilometres from a Russian base. Our goal is to create a resilient community in villages like this so they are not deserted and so that young people can find employment and realise their potential locally.”
Nana Chkareuli of Ikorta handicrafts, founded in 2012 by For Better Future, an NGO working in the Tserovani IDP Settlement, explained how the company a way for its beneficiaries to develop their professional lives. There are 10 people working at the jewellery-making enterprise, 9 of whom are women. The company also brings wider possibilities for civil and economic development by reinvesting the profits from the sale of the jewellery into programmes for young people and women in the settlement, which houses IDPs from the Russo-Georgian war.
Archil Gobejishvili is an IDP who established the Dadari social enterprise with a strong and united team of people with different abilities. They make high quality wooden handmade toys. The company’s main social mission is to train people with intellectual disabilities and special psycho-social needs, employ them, and promote their full involvement in public life.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
The European Union is standing by Georgia, in support of building a strong, prosperous and democratic country, during times of COVID and other crises, and with unwavering support for Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity, EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell said in a statement to mark Europe Day on 9 May, in a year that has seen Georgia apply for membership of the European Union.
He said Europe Day was a celebration of a new vision for Europe, presented 72 years ago in the Schuman Declaration, “at a time when Europe was still rising from the ashes of a devastating war, determined to make sure there would be no more wars in Europe”.
“While we remain faithful to that vision, unfortunately, others blatantly and tragically demonstrate that they still see things differently. But as Russia is waging its unjustified war in Europe, we are standing up in strong solidarity with Ukraine, based on the values and principles that unite us and on which our Union was built.”
“Here in Georgia, our close partnership is based on these same values,” the Ambassador said. “A partnership that is set to grow further as Georgia took the historic step to apply for EU membership, in line with the aspirations of an overwhelming majority of its population and in coping with its civilisational roots.”
Activities to mark Europe Day in Georgia this year are centred around a new film called Europe and me, directed by Giorgi Kvelidze. It highlights the shared values between the EU and Georgia and shows several human stories from Georgia’s region.
The online premiere of the documentary film that has been produced for 2022 Europe Day will be held tonight, 9 May at 21:00 on the Delegation Facebook page.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
The war in Ukraine reminds us of the enduring value of the European Union as a peace project among Europeans and as a strong actor to uphold and promote security on our continent and in the wider world, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a statement on Europe Day, celebrated today, 9 May.
Europe Day on 9 May commemorates Robert Schuman’s founding declaration, which launched the European project. This year, the commemoration takes on a particular meaning, with the return of war on a large scale to European territory.
“While for most of our citizens the EU integration process is a huge success story, some of our fellow Europeans have also been swayed by doubts about the usefulness of the European project,” said Borrell. The war in Ukraine reminds us of “the enduring value of the European Union as a peace project” and as a strong actor in the wider world.
Borrell highlighted four points in this regard:
- Member States have demonstrated the strongest political unity in the face of aggression. “We all understood the seriousness of the [Russian] aggression and the dangers it carried. Hence the speed at which the Union adopted financial and economic sanctions against Russia in coordination with G7 partners.”
- For the first time ever, the EU used the financial resources of the European Peace Facility to help a state under attack defend itself. Three tranches have already been disbursed for a total of €1.5 billion. This European support is coupled with the direct military support from the Member States. “It is a further proof that far from restricting the Member States, the union multiplies the power of each of them.”
- By collectively working towards the end of Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, the EU shows it is stronger at the sum of its parts than when Member States act alone. “Not only is it a stronger player in the international energy market, it also limits the exposure of its individual Member States to energy blackmail. This will enhance the EU’s strategic resilience.”
- The strength and determination of the EU’s response in support of Ukraine is an expression of international solidarity. No less than 141 states of the international community have explicitly rejected the Russian aggression against Ukraine at the UN General Assembly. They are defending their own territorial integrity and sovereignty against future potential aggressions and saying “no” to the return of the law of the jungle in international relations. Furthermore, the EU is engaged in addressing the overall international impact, including economic, of Russia’s war against Ukraine. “Here also, the EU unity in exercising international solidarity will make the difference.”
“Through this war, Europe’s process of learning how to use the language of powers is speeding up,” the EU High Representative said. “9 May 2022 must underline this growing awareness: to defend the EU and the values upon which it is based; to put our collective power at the service of our partner Ukraine to defend itself and its full and complete sovereignty; to work with the international community in preserving key international norms and security and to exercise solidarity to address the global consequences of this aggression.”
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
The meeting of Giorgi Mosidze and Shota Khabareli with the Ambassador of Romania on the occasion of Europe Day
The members of the EU Integration Committee, Giorgi Mosidze and Shota Khabareli held the meeting with the Ambassador of Romania, H.E. Radu Liviu HORUMBĂ on the occasion of Europe Day and visit Gori State Teaching University and spoke with students about Georgia and EU.
The meeting was initiated by the Committee and supported by UNDP. The Rector of Gori University, Giorgi Sosiashvili opened the meeting. He introduced the guests and expressed his consent to live in the era when travel is free.
The floor was given to G. Mosidze, who spoke about history of EU, four fundamental freedoms and EU structures. “Europe is diverse and it is not one country but union of various culture and nations, making the decisions on the basis of equal rights, which is the model for new democracies”.
Sh. Khabareli welcomed the students and hoped that if the new generation is labor oriented, it will succeed in dealing with the challenges on EU integration path and visa free travel to Europe gives greatest opportunities to share the experience of European countries, especially new member states.
The Ambassador welcomed the students and spoke about the objective and importance of EU support and EUMM and underlined that Romania always supports EU and NATO integration of Georgia. He spoke about importance of education for formation as a member of European family. The students thanked the Ambassador for support and spoke about importance of close cooperation with EU member states.