Georgia: One Year After the Conflict, A Mother and Her Sons Start a New Life
By Tea Kordzadze/IOCC Georgia

August 19, 2009
Tserovani, Georgia — Lali is a 41-year-old mother who was disabled in a car accident while fleeing her home town of Akhalgori during last summer’s war in Georgia. Whenever she is tempted to give up because of the scant $80 per month in income that she receives from the Georgian government, she has merely to look at her two sons, Saba, 4, and Tornike, 15. “My only thought is to survive and protect my sons, the only valuables in my life,” said Lali.

Lali is one of the estimated 26,000 individuals who were displaced by last summer’s war and will not be able to return to their homes because of security issues. The Georgian government has built 38 new housing settlements to house these families. Lali lives in Tserovani, one of the new settlements located just outside of the capital of Tbilisi.

Like others displaced by the war, Lali had a very different life from what she is living now. After graduating from university in Tbilisi, she worked as a journalist and later started a business magazine.

“I am an invalid but I still hope I can return to publishing and regain the feeling that I can do useful things,” she said.
IOCC is assisting 35,000 individuals like Lali by providing essential food items (flour, beans, pasta, oil, sugar, and salt) in partnership with the UN World Food Programme (WFP). IOCC is providing these supplies to villages throughout the Shida Kartli region. IOCC is also teaming up with the Georgian Orthodox Church and ACT International to provide counselors to the traumatized.

Active in Georgia since 1994, IOCC was well prepared to respond to the humanitarian disaster following last August’s war. With a grant from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), IOCC provided emergency assistance in the weeks following the war.

Lali is still picking up the pieces of her life. A social worker from the Georgian Patriarchate is helping her to apply for funds for an urgent operation and a washing machine. For now, there are some small pleasures in her difficult circumstances, like the little garden that her older son has planted in their new home. “It is a little bit of home that I can recreate here,” said Lali.

To help in providing emergency relief, call IOCC’s donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622, make a gift on-line at www.iocc.org, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write “Conflict in the Caucasus” in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.

IOCC, founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has implemented over $300 million in relief and development programs in 33 countries around the world.

Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489, rtierney@iocc.org


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