Civic integration of religious and ethnic minorities has always been important in Georgia. In the last 25 years numerous projects for this purpose with have been carried out by nongovernmental organizations. The impact of their work is evident: many representatives of ethnic and religious groups have integrated and young people are more active in public life and in universities. Levels of Georgian abilities has increased, and the attitudes of majority relations towards some minorities have improved.
However, some smaller minority groups have been overlooked, such the Avarians, a Muslim population (approximately 3000) originally from the North Caucasus. In Georgia they reside in three villages of Kakheti: Tivi, Saruso and Chantliskure. The general public became interested with these people after a report of female genital mutilation in this community. This interest resulted in rather negative attitudes of majority population towards this group, which further isolated them.
The main goal of the proposed idea is to support integration of young members of Avarians from the village Tivi with peers from the neighboring Georgian village – Gavazi.
Volunteers plan on launching a series of diversity workshops for the teenagers of Tivi and Gavazi. They met with the mullah of the Avarian community and representatives of the school of Tivi village for permission and were granted access to the school facilities.
Five workshops will be organized for the joint group, covering the following topics:
1) Intercultural Dialogue – participants will get to know each other, will learn basics of self-presentation, team work in culturally diverse groups;
2) Stereotypes – group members will learn about the origins of stereotype, how negative stereotypes create hostile attitudes, and how to overcome stereotypes.
3) Fear of “unknown” – students will get acquainted with the idea of “unknown” and analyze how it becomes a source of fear and, as a result, leads to the hatred;.
4) Secularization – the relationship of religion and state will show why religious institutions do not participate in social and political life of the country so that all religious denominations are equal;.
5) Citizenship and individual responsibility – this seminar will show the participants what responsible citizenship implies and how citizens can change the development of their communities.
After the workshops, an excursion for Georgian participants to Tivi will be organized.
Even though five workshops will not change attitudes can fundamentally, it will tackle some of most important topics, understanding of which will greatly help youth in becoming more active, respectful citizens and disseminate ideas of tolerance in their families and communities. Authors of this initiative will continue regular contact with group members and will inform them about possibilities of engaging in civil society activities and educational events.
Equal gender opportunity:
The topic connected to violation of basic rights of women in Avarian community became widely known all over the country. However, direct discussion of this issue will distance and anger the participants, as they already feel that the topic was greatly exaggerated. Thus, the approach of the initiative is an indirect empowerment of girls, through their active involvement in all the workshops.
Stationary supplies for trainings
Vazha -Phavalela ave #70b032 2 320 200
Cost of petrolium for Transportation of trainers from and to Tbilisi, transportation of residents of Tivi to and from Gavazi
Chavchavadze ave 74,+995 32 2 915 315
Cost of transportation of Gavazi residents to Tivi for excursion
Chavchavadze ave #74+995 32 2 34 53 66
Refreshments during training
Mosashvili str, 11.0322 55 75 57