Kindergartens for the Prosperity of Women
Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
“When I was raising my children, I had to take them to a kindergarten from the village of Tsilkani to another village, Tserovani. The road was very damaged, and sometimes the bus would break down.
We had to wait in bad weather and the children would fall ill. It was very hard not only for me, but also for other parents who had to take their children to Tserovani, especially in winter.” This is how Eka Daudashvili recalls the times when it would take her at least an hour to take her children to the kindergarten by bus every weekday, after which she would rush to work. She was often late, which made her worry enormously. During that period the only dream she had was to have a kindergarten opened in Tsilkani, as she saw this as of utmost importance for her professional development.
The village of Tsilkani is located in east Georgia, in the Shida Kartli region. There is an IDP settlement in the vicinity, with 400 residents. These people were forced to flee from their own houses during the conflict in 2008, and had to start their new lives in this IDP settlement. Eka Daudashvili, a teacher by training, is one of them. Eka’s dream about a kindergarten came true after some years: her children were already attending school when a kindergarten was built in Tsilkani in 2017, under the rural support programme. Today Eka is a manager of this kindergarten.
The remote location or absence of kindergartens is a problem for both women and children. Lack of access to childcare services represents a challenge for early child development and also hinders women’s economic activity, education and employment. For this reason UN Women has been supporting various projects for many years to refurbish kindergartens and equip them with relevant items, services and utilities. During 2017-2018 UN Women cooperated with the International Women’s Association in the area and, together with the women’s fund TASO, implemented initiatives for equipping three kindergartens with services and amenities. Namely, they improved the yards of kindergartens located in IDP settlements in Martvili and the village of Oktomberi in the Samegrelo region, west Georgia, in 2017, and subsequently, in 2018, they supported the kindergarten in the village of Tsilkani, where Eka Daudashvili is a manager.
At the time, the Tsilkani kindergarten had only middle- and upper-level classes for 71 children due to a lack of relevant infrastructure. Although it had been necessary to open separate groups for 2- and 3-year-old children, the absence of proper equipment and utilities had made it impossible to form lower-level groups for younger children. However, with the support of UN Women and the International Women’s Association, the kindergarten was equipped with all the essential items, a new kitchen, piano and toys, in addition to which the yard was laid out .
“This is a very important initiative. We often learn at our organization about similar problems that kindergartens are facing, and we always want to assist. We would like to improve this difficult situation for our sisters, because we know that these problems affect women most of all. We are happy to have contributed to the rehabilitation of this building and to the improvement of community life in general,” said Aleid Douma, vice-president of the International Women’s Association.
Eka Daudashvili thinks that the support provided to the Tsilkani kindergarten will assist many local women, enable them to free up their time and open up new prospects for them.
Since 2010, UN Women has supported the refurbishment of 16 kindergartens in the regions of Georgia and provided equipment to them within the framework of multiple projects.