1.With maximum 500 words demonstrate the organisation’s contribution specifically towards YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation project. Let us know what do you think was that unique footprint of your organisation that enriched the Roots so far, and now deserves due appreciation.
YMCA Georgia may not be the oldest and the strongest organization in the region or among other Ys, but it has always been trying to bring the peace into Georgians lives. Since the day it was created, it has been trying to make life easier for our citizen and help them solve their problems.
In 2007 we joined YMCA Europe initiative “Roots For Reconciliation’’ and our effort to strengthen peace in our society became even stronger. Since then YMCA Georgia has not only being trying to build peace in Georgia, but we have been actively involved in international projects. Georgia was represented during both, 1st and 2nd generations of peace work institute. In 2015, one of the most memorable Pro-fest took place exactly in our beloved Camp Orange. People from 5 different countries celebrated peace and with all the energy and resources that we have put into this festival, it turned into such a worthy closing ceremony of the first generation of PWI and real celebration of peace, that even after 5 years participants can’t hold their emotions while remembering it.
As they say, good start is half done job. In 2017 year second generation members of PWI gathers for the first time in Tbilisi and embarked on a new journey to peace. We created free, friendly space for people from about 16 countries. Giving them all the needed resources that later contributed to various successful tandem projects. Later in the same year, in July Georgia opened its doors for the rooters for one more time and hosted another very successful program festival again in Ureki, Camp Orange as a celebration of successful start of the new PWI and new ideas that could lead us to peace.
As mentioned above, there were tandem project implemented on behalf of roots. In 2018 “Art 4 Peace”, one the most significant roots project took place again in Georgia. We welcomed people from different conflict countries at our home, Camp Orange and gave them opportunity to get to know each other, destroy stereotypes, build friendships and create peace together.\
Finally, in 2019 we became even more global, started spreading peace ideas beyond European and Asian borders and invited people from the USA in Ureki to participate in C.A.M.P. (Create! Act! Make! Peace!) The goal was to promote peace on behalf of RFR and deliver our voices to more people. This idea worked, project together with the USA was productive and our ideas, planes and hopes about peace have reached far places, far across the oceans.
Finally, its’s high time we mention Camp Orange itself as it is great contribution to peace and RFR. Since the day it was built up Georgian group was trying its best to turn this place like a real home. As a result, now our camp Orange is standing proudly, providing safe and warm space for those in need. It has been open and welcoming for everyone, no matter what was the political or social situation, even for those who had closed the door for us, or it was a hurtful time. It was a shelter and a guaranty that great plans would not stay as just plans and there was always a friendly roof for roots. It is result of time and effort of people, who care about those walls, who put their own life on the background and dedicate their time and energy to this place, so it will always be a safe place for those, whose way of life is towards peace.
During all the project mentioned above Georgian group worked hard to create comfortable space for people from different conflict countries, which was not easy, but the goal was reached. Many walls were destroyed and bridges were built during those days and we are proud and humbled to be hosts of all these amazing events. Georgia is proud to have hosted the most Roots events and what we are even more proud of is the fact that lots of strong and lifetime long friendships have been born in here, with us.
2. With maximum 500 words elaborate on the concept of the project, which you plan to implement if awarded. Let us know how far that project promotes peace and whether it is in line with YMCA Europe Roots’ theory of change and what innovation it offers. Please indicate clearly who are the target group(s) benefiting from the initiative.
Georgia is a small country on the crossroad of Europe and Asia. It can be surprising that even though our country has population of only 3.7 million, still a lot of members of different ethnic minority have been living here for decades or even centuries. Some of these minorities are Arzebaijanis, Armenians, Russians, Ossetians, Yezidis, Ukrainians, Kists, Greeks, Assyrians and so on. One can definitely be proud of living in such multicultural and multi ethnical country, but we cannot avoid mentioning social distance and self-awareness problems that come together with it.
Problem Social Distance – interaction between different groups living in one society. Despite of the fact that Georgia is really welcoming country, minorities still struggle in regards of being fully integrated in Georgian society. For example, study of Caucasus Research Center shows that ethnic Georgians prefer creating business or family ties together with again ethnic Georgian rather than members of different ethnic minorities. Also, about 88% of members of ethnic minorities say that they fell discrimination from the majority and they feel like second class citizens, however 71% of Georgians have never noticed that minorities have some problems in this regard. This indicates on low level of interaction.
As mentioned, there is a gap between Georgian and minority societies, still the gap is bigger between members of different minorities. Despite of the fact that everyone lives in peace on this territory and they don’t have conflict, still level of communication between them is very low. Also they have different religions and cultures that can create misunderstanding between groups that do not know much about each other’s needs, wants and believes.
The problem in regards of self-awareness is that members of ethnic minorities often struggle finding their own place in the society. This problem shows up when members of small community mix together with bigger group and they try to fit in. there have been cases of hiding own last name that indicate on belonging to ethical minority while registering on social network platforms. Does not even worth mentioning how much harm artificially changing identity can bring to a teenager who is just about to start serious life.
The way to solve this problem is helping members of different ethnic groups to get to know each other and themselves as well. Therefore, we designed a project “Roof For Roots” that aims strengthening tolerance in the citizens of Georgia by understanding more about different cultures. Helps members of different ethnic group to build pride towards their ethnic identity, contributes to integration of small groups in the society and become ambassadors of their community as well.
Project beneficiary will be teenagers from 16-18 from ethnic minorities as well as ethnical Georgians in total 60 teenagers. This is the period of life when we start questioning our identity and start constructing our future life. Participants from different ethnic groups will live, work and learn together. Special programs that will help them bond as a group and build strong friendship will be created by our team.
Duration of the camp will be a week for one cohort, followed by follow up programs and projects. As a result, we will reach hundreds of teenagers in different regions of Georgia.
We believe you can only create peace, when you are in peaceful in yourself and in your closest environment. It starts from individuals and the one who wants to bring peace to people must find peace in oneself first. This is achieving by constant working on self-development and getting to know yourself, accepting and loving yourself as you are.
After the project we will have reached supposed results that are raised tolerance between members of different groups, developed self awareness, new multicultural friendships, confidence new generation and that are well aware of their need and wants; they will learn how to love, respect and accept themselves and each other for who they are and will be able to build healthy mind body spirit. All these contribute to building of strong, peaceful community where everyone feels like at home.
3. Indicate the estimated project budget, and whereby over € 10,000, provide clear information on co-funding sources and guarantees.
Amount requested: 10,000 Euro
Co-funding YMCA Georgia: none
Total budget: 10,000 Euro