|Georgia: textbooks for thousands of children in former conflict zone|
|February 17, 2009|
World Vision and its partners have begun delivering 30,000 new textbooks to 5,000 children in 140 schools in the former Georgian conflict zone. For many of these children this will mean returning to school without worrying about where the money will come from to buy the required books.
'I didn't have textbooks for Music and English; my sister for Geography. I was borrowing books from other children on the days when we didn't have that lesson. Now I'm glad I will have my own,' said Mari, 10, a student from a school in Khashuri.
A five-day conflict between Georgia and Russia six months ago displaced thousands from South Ossetia into both countries and exacerbated the poverty already affecting children like Mari.
Mari was one of about 100 students, teachers, parents, and community members who gathered February 12, 2009, in Khashuri School #3 to celebrate the book donation. The event brought together representatives of all partner and donor organisations, including the embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, UNICEF, World Vision, and the International Rescue Committee, as well as representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Education and the local municipality.
'It is a great gift for teachers and pupils; in almost every class there are children who don't have books,' Mavra Bliadze, an elementary school teacher, said. 'Text books are quite expensive and for some families, especially those with many children, it is difficult to buy all the necessary books. Now we will give those children these books and we'll also have them in our library. So not only this year, but also in other years, we will be able to provide socially vulnerable children with textbooks.'
Bliadze speaks to the intent of this project, which seeks to multiply the benefits of the donation. And, schools have been tasked with designing and implementing a lending system to this end and are asking children and parents to take good care of these precious books.
'I am very pleased that World Vision was able to partner with so many organisations to see that all children in this area have the opportunity to receive a good education,' David Womble, World Vision Georgia National Director, said. 'This partnership is the kind of partnership we hope to see in these schools and communities so that all children in following years will be able to take advantage of these textbooks.'
Some of the children at the school held a short concert of traditional Georgian dance and song to thank the organisations for the donation. As the children filtered out of the concert hall, many ran to a table full of textbooks to see what they and their classmates would be using for the rest of the year.
'I have all my books, but there are eight students in my class who don't have any books,' Mariam, 12, said. 'Some of them don't want to study, but some do, and they just borrow books from us. I am very glad that these children will now have books.'
World Vision is delivering 24,000 books to more than 80 schools in the districts of Kareli, Kaspi, and Khashuri. The donation was made possible through funding by the embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as World Vision.
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