Cuttino's Georgian Life

A journal of my Peace Corps service in the Republic of Georgia, 2006-2008.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Life at work

Hello everyone, things are going pretty well here. Today marks the second week at site and the first day of the academic year for my center. So I figure I'd devote this post to explaining what exactly I'm doing here.

I'm working for a youth center called "Biliki" ("Path" in Georgian). We run two sites, one large building in the center of town where our offices and classrooms are located and another smaller satellite in the large marketplace that specifically helps street children. Biliki serves children ages 6 to 16. For the past few weeks, I've spent some time with the social workers visiting the kids at their homes and checking up on their conditions. It's my opinion that "street child" is a bit of a misnomer here in Georgia (or at least in Gori). I think the term suggests homelessness. Most of these kids do have homes and a guardian, but the conditions of the homes are very bad; their parents or guardians are often suffering from alcoholism, illness, or disabilities. As a result of this, many of these kids spend most of their time on the street begging for money.

Biliki's aim is to create constructive and educational outlets for their free time. School attendance is not strictly enforced here, so some kids need a lot of structure. At the moment, we offer classes in reading, mathematics, and language; creative studios; a woodworking shop; and a music classroom. They also have psychologists, social workers and a doctor on staff. My job within the organization is to serve as a consultant and focus on capacity building. The goal is that with my experience, English skills, and Western contacts I can help make the organization more efficient and effective. I'll also be working directly with the youth, one of my first assignments is to develop field day activities for a sports week and I'll also be helping to plan a 5-day leadership camp.

One exciting thing has happened since I arrived here: Last Saturday, we received 8 Dell computers as a donation from Simmons College in Boston. A Georgian student there convinced the college to donate its old computers from their student union. It was a media event when she arrived. We set up the computers in the conference room and invited the local press. The city's TV station showed up and interviewed Marika, Biliki's director, and Keti, the student who brought the computers. Here are some pictures from the day (the young woman in the photos is Keti):

Also, Biliki's English website is just about complete, I'm working hard to revise the language. When its finished, I'll be sure to post the address again. Take care everyone!


Post a Comment

<< Home