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Young Georgians learn to live with the rest of the world

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Monday, May 18
On May 15 LoFT (Leap of Faith Together) project volunteers presented the results of their six month programme, which aimed to involve people of various social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds in making a difference. The seven LoFT project members, who were chosen through a selection process, were very different people with different interests and this made the project more interesting and valid.

During the project the volunteers worked extensively with children, who were mainly IDPs and the socially unprotected. On December 14 the LoFT team organised the children’s art exhibition ‘We Paint Peace’, at which the paintings of IDP children aged 8 to15 were exhibited. The LoFT team also visited orphanages and the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre in March and children from the Begurebi and Tsisartkela orphanages were taken on various sightseeing tours to place such as Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Volunteers also presented educational books, encyclopedias and works of literature to the children.

The LoFT project involved five countries in 2008-2009, Wales, Israel, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Wales LoFT team visited Georgia in January. The Georgian participants showed their Welsh friends IDP shelters in Tbilisi and introduced them to their general living conditions. They also visited some places of interest and Georgian cultural monuments. Georgian cuisine made a special impression on them. For their part the Georgian team visited Yerevan in February and said that they had an excellent time with their LoFT friends and did interactive team work with them.

LoFT is a community volunteering scheme for young leaders which has been developed as part of the British Council’s Living Together Project in South East Europe. The project aims to strengthen and promote social cohesion and active citizenship.