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The children from a plastic bag hut

Wednesday, 19 January 2022 20:46 hits 943 times

- How old are you? -Three.

- What is your name? Dato.

- Your surname? Tchikaidze.

- Where do you live? - With my mother.

- What is this village called? Home.

- Do you want a home? Yes.

- What kind of home? A red home…and warm.

Dato has never had a proper house. His family lives in village Khomi, 1500 meters above sea level. Their shelter has plastic bags instead of walls, and worn-out iron sheets as a roof.

In 1992 6.4 magnitudes earthquake demolished their house. "The house is our dream. We fell down and never recovered". Eter Antauri-Chikaidze, the children's grandmother, contains their pain in a single sentence. The last hut they lived in fell under the snow. The family tries to strengthen the building but still needs to be awake on windy nights if the roof or walls cannot endure anymore.

Public assistance and the grandmother's pension are primary sources of income for the family. Lado Chikaidze, son of Eter, works as a shepherd to gather money for their dream house. Although years ago, they were offered a room in any old homes in Zhinvali or Dusheti, they refused. The family, including children, does not want to leave Khomi.

 Children need a colorful and, what's more important, warm house. They will soon have it thanks to the campaign by "Mtis Ambebi".

 Readers of "Mtis Ambebi" managed what neither central nor local governments could not do for thirty years.

The law obliges the local government to register and aid homeless people living in the municipality. Last year, when "Mtis Ambebi" started the campaign, Dusheti city hall did not have a single homeless person registered. Chikaidze family never addressed the city hall, as they did not know it was necessary. 

 "Mtis Ambebi" wrote about the Chikaidze family in 2017. Last year we revisited them. There are no schools or kindergartens in a village where 18 people live. There were many issues in Khomi, the biggest one being homelessness. We started the campaign with The East-West Management Institute.

Chikaidze family case is not the first one "Mtis Ambebi" worked on. We managed to build houses for Sabeda Tsiklauri in Kvemo Khorkhi; Mikha Arabuli in Zeistecho; Kvanchiani family in Vedi. Our partners, Civic Activity Center, communal organizations, and donations from readers helped them live in homes after years. 

Neither of them, along with many others, are registered as homeless by the government. 

We have no data showing how many homeless persons live in Georgia and mountainous regions in particular.

The majority of municipalities do not even have a registration procedure for the homeless. Therefore, assumed numbers are based on cases of registration requests. 

Unregistered citizens do not exist for the government because the law recognizes homeless persons without a constant, specified place of residence registered at a local authority as homeless.

According to the latest census, there are 89 homeless persons in Georgia. It only shows that we cannot understand the scale of the issue. In addition, the Georgian Government's Resolution defining the term of a homeless (roofless) person is noteworthy. According to the Resolution, a person who has no permanent place of residence, legal income, and property in ownership, or a person who, in the given moment, is on the street and whose life is in danger is considered to be homeless (roofless).

The research of the Social Justice Center shows that despite international obligations, Georgia does not recognize the issue of homelessness properly. It has not established a policy and documents to combat the problem. 

We studied the normative acts and practices of 29 municipalities of Georgia. 

Only four of them: Mestia, Ambrolauri, Tetritskaro, and Kharagauli, have resolutions about the registration and aid of homeless persons. None of them provide Social Service Agency with data. 

Social Service Agency, to create a database of homeless persons, addressed city halls for the information on numerous occasions since 2014. 

Civic Activity Center, a partner of "Mtis Ambebi", already addressed 14 municipalities with the recommendation based on international practice and Georgian law. They should first create a procedure for registration. Several city halls confirmed they received the recommendation and started the process. 

We have also sent the same letter to Dusheti city hall, which approved GEL 3000 aid for the Chikaidze family. It will be added to the amount we gathered during our campaign. 

This is the second campaign we started for this family. The first one in summer could not gather enough money. This time, on January 13, we visited them to see their living conditions in winter. Giorgi Kekelidze, general director of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, gifted children books and was involved in fundraising. 

In a week, we raised GEL 39000. Giga Chikadze, UFC fighter, helped the family with GEL 9000.

We aim to build a house and provide the family with furniture and houseware.

Donation details:

  • Account Number: GE51LB0115195065049003
  • Bank Code: LBRTGE22
  • Beneficiary: NNLE „Center for Civic Activities“
  • Description: #ჭიკაიძეებისოჯახისთვის (#forchikaidzefamily)
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