The damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the economy and human well-being is especially severe in the mountainous regions of Georgia, where the majority of the population is dependent on tourism and entrepreneurship is less developed. In order to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic, Caritas Czech Republic provided grant assistance to small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the region of Racha.
"This beautiful region is one of the least developed in Georgia with a high level of poverty, which was even worsen by the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Particularly the small and medium businesses needed additional financial resources to continue operating, thus we provided them with financial and technical support to retain the number of jobs. In Racha´s Oni and Ambrolauri municipalities, we assisted to over 26 SMEs, which employ 52 persons in total,” said Ekaterine Meskhrikadze, project manager of Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia.
Thanks to the funding from SlovakAid, the grants were given for example to a butcher’s shop to buy a proper equipment, to guesthouse operators to upgrade their facilities with a heating system and beds, and to a sewing workshop to obtain new sewing machines and industrial iron. Since the most locals make a living from agriculture, the honey makers, livestock farmers, and winemakers were also supported.
Helping the winemakers
As concerns the winemaking, Racha is small, but one of the most exotic regions in Georgia characterized not only by distinctive climate, but also by unique types of grapes. The pandemic period has been very challenging for winemakers, as tourism stopped and wine sales decreased, so the harvest from the previous years had to be stored in cisterns.\
To support their businesses in this difficult period, the grants were given to 6 winemakers to obtain stainless appliances for the cellars, cisterns to keep the wine, or traditional Qvevri. “With the help of Czech Caritas, I bought stainless appliances for my cellar, which mainly helped me to carry out the 2020 harvest without delay and without the need to sell raw materials at a modest price due to a lack of cisterns. I would like to thank Czech Caritas for this support.” Said Aleko Sardanashvili, the winemaker.
Dreams come true
Since 2010, a master of vitreous enamel Nana Iaralishvili has dreamed of having her own space where she would make vitreous enamel jewelry. With the help of our grant component, Nana acquired the equipment and supplies needed to set up a small studio. Except producing the handicrafts for selling, she is now ready to share her knowledge and experience with young people who share her love for traditional crafts.
“My dream, which was for long time only in my heart, came true. I put together a vitreous enamel workshop where I will share my knowledge with other people. There is nothing better than being in your favorite environment and doing your favorite thing. Many thanks to Czech Caritas and to every person who has made a small contribution to making my dream come true,” mentioned Nana Iaralishvili.