Assist Victims of Georgia Conflict

$1,055 $23,945
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As part of CHF’s USAID-funded Georgia Employment and Infrastructure Initiative (GEII), a program focused on improving employment and entrepreneurship, CHF was asked to look into schools rehabilitation in Gori and Kareli. Through GEII, CHF is upgrading at least 20 schools in the former conflict zones of Gori and Kareli, so that children can learn in a safe and energy-efficient environment. Specifically, the program will: - Ensure that at least 20 schools are brought to a level of meeting “minimum standards,” such as new roofing, insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, replastering/repainting, heating, and indoor toilets with water tanks. - Once minimum standards are met, communities can prioritize how they would like additional funds spend for priority repairs and upgrades, including solar panels, electrical systems, flooring, exterior doors, etc. - All school renovation projects will focus on using energy efficient materials, and removing toxic building materials in all school structures, including lead paint and asbestos.

Milton Funes, an experienced CHF Country Director and civil engineer who advised on the project described the situation in Georgia: “The schools buildings were in a state of disrepair. There were classrooms with bullet holes that were covered up by maps on the wall. The children had to use external bathrooms – even through the freezing winter.”

CHF would love to be able to do more repairs to more schools that were affected by the conflict. Your donations can help us to do that and to enable conflict affected students to have the education they deserve.

Boslebi is a small village with an impressive history. Located in Kvemo Kartli, along the ancient caravan routes that linked Byzantium, Armenia, and Persia, the area was a major commercial center of medieval Georgia. Close to the village is the Dmanisi archeological site where the earliest evidence of Homo erectus on the Eurasian continent was discovered in 1991.

Today, the village of Boslebi is home to 200 households. The majority of these families cultivate beans, cucumbers, and corn, as well as producing meat and milk. Boslebi was previously one of the main suppliers of food products for the town of Dmanisi, especially meat products. However, during the last decade, decaying infrastructure has begun to limit the village’s economic growth. In order to address this problem, community members began working with CHF International’s Georgia Employment and Infrastructure Initiative (GEII) to revitalize their economy.

Over the last two years, three infrastructure projects have been implemented in Boslebi, with the assistance of GEII. The first project addressed the village’s power supply problems, by replacing old transformers, reinstalling wires, reinforcing damaged poles, and fencing in the transformer substation. The second project rehabilitated the potable water supply system, providing water to all of the village’s inhabitants. Finally, the third project improved the condition of damaged roads in order to link Boslebi and the neighboring village of Kakliani with the regional hub.

These three projects successfully laid the foundation for the villagers to start implementing new business ideas. For example, while completing the road rehabilitation last summer, Mr. Tengiz Kuliashvili, a resident of Boslebi village, applied and obtained a loan from the People's Bank to open a new mill. His mill now provides processed corn and wheat to five surrounding villages. In addition to his job, two more positions were created. The residents of Boslebi, who contributed cash and labor for all three infrastructure projects, enjoy a 50% discount on the services provided by Mr. Kuliashvili's mill.

Gocha Kuliashvili, CDC Coordinator of the Boslebi community, comments: “We have already improved the major part of our village’s infrastructure, paving the way for new business initiatives. Recently one of our farmers announced that he would establish a cheese factory in our community. He has a small farm in Boslebi with great potential to launch a successful business. The electricity, water, and road rehabilitation projects promoted better access to investments in long term development.”

On behalf of the village of Boslebi and the rest of those we serve in Georgia we would like to thank our donors for their generous support.

Groups provide humanitarian relief to a nation embroiled in conflict by Mike Meno | The Gazette Staff Writer

Thousands of people who fled their homes as a result of fighting between Russia and Georgia have become the focus of humanitarian relief organizations around the world, including two groups based in Silver Spring.

Approximately 128,000 people have been displaced in Georgia since hostilities broke out Aug. 8, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The fighting began when Georgia, a former member of the Soviet Union, tried to reassert its control over the separatist region of South Ossetia, which borders Russia. Russia, in turn, launched an invasion of Georgia that has caused tens of thousands of people to flee northward into Russia or toward the Georgian capital city, Tbilisi, according to international news reports.

Among the organizations that have sent emergency relief crews to help those displaced are CHF International and Adventist Development and Relief Agency, two nonprofits headquartered in Silver Spring. Both groups were operating in Georgia before the latest round of hostilities.

"We can't respond to every country where there's a crisis, but in the case of a country like Georgia where we already have a presence, it seems to behoove us, and we feel like we can do something substantial," said Jennifer Hyman, communications manager for CHF International.

Richard Choularton, the director of CHF's office of humanitarian assistance, is part of the initial two-man team CHF sent to Tbilisi last week. On Aug. 13, the day of his departure, Choularton said those displaced will be in need of everything from food and medical care to clean drinking water and shelter. He said he expected to meet with representatives of the United Nations and other nongovernmental organizations to determine what needs were most dire and plan a coordinated response.

"Obviously, in a crisis that's a challenge because the situation is rapidly evolving and there is a lot of ambiguous information," Choularton said. "… We don't know how long these people are going to be displaced for, but we assume it's weeks and months."

Choularton, a Silver Spring resident, worked in Georgia once before, in 2001 for the United Nations. Then, he and others were planning a contingency response for a possible conflict in Abkhazia, another separatist region of Georgia that has become embroiled in the latest conflict. He said the current conditions of people escaping war-torn areas are similar to what was planned for in 2001.

"They're out of their homes, they're fleeing, they don't have much with them," he said.

Hearly Mayr, director of public awareness for ADRA, said his organization also has been working with its office in Georgia and the United Nations to determine how it can best help the displaced.

"Right now, we're going to start providing medical assistance," he said. "We've had health projects before in that area [South Ossetia] but because of the violence, our staff had to turn back."

Both organizations emphasized that the safety of their own workers in the region was one of their first priorities. They are also asking for donations that can be used to fund relief efforts and have set up special sections of their Web sites where people can contribute.

Hyman said CHF, which has more than 3,000 workers worldwide, will most likely focus on rebuilding efforts, such as providing transitional shelters for the displaced that can be lived in up to two years.

"The biggest gap is always now," Choularton said. "It takes the government and organizations such as ours sometime to get up and running. We have the capacity to do stuff now, but what we really need is the funding."

After more than a decade of ethnic and political conflict the former Yugoslavia has been divided into numerous countries. The breakup of the region has been ongoing since the 1990’s, and most recently Kosovo declared its independence in 2008. These newly-formed countries are still struggling to assert their independent and economic identities. CHF International aids communities throughout the Balkan region to rebuild infrastructure and economies and to restore social cohesion.

CHF was originally established in 1952 as the Cooperative Housing Foundation to provide housing for low-income households in the United States. In the late 1960’s, the organization began applying its expertise on an international level. CHF now works exclusively outside the US and has moved well beyond cooperative housing. CHF has worked in more than 100 countries uniting the people, organizations and resources necessary to ensure sustainable change and development.

Link below


I can to call in three villages in Shida Kartli – Shindisi and Kelktseuli in Gori district, and Breti in Kareli district. All villages are empty – people leave houses and most people are in Tbilisi. In villages are only some old people and in villages is military army. As they said, in Kelktseuli and Shindisi all fields and gardens are damaged.. What we can do? In villages is military army.

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Project Leader

Erin Mote

Manager of Resource Development
Silver Spring, MD United States

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