First Profession and Job at the Age of 46

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Zina Tsertsvadze. Photo: Gvantsa Chagunava
Zina Tsertsvadze. Photo: Gvantsa Chagunava

“I had this idea in my mind that if I ever started going to work, I would not be able to manage all the work around the house. Village life is what it is. There is always something to do. I was not going out much either because I was mostly taking care of the household. Last year, when I started going to work, I was 46 years old. Since then I have been filled with some different sort of energy which helps me get out of bed every morning”, says Zina Tsartsidze, a resident of the village Ani in Akhaltsikhe municipality, who works as a cook at the local kindergarten.

She has always enjoyed cooking but she could never imagine that a pastime she loved so much could also become profitable. She started pondering over this change just after the meeting with Taso Foundation: “It was when I started going out that I realized what rights I had as a woman and I knew I could start working notwithstanding my age. These meetings gave me strength and helped me decide to study culinary skills on a professional level”, Zina recalls.

Zina is one of the many women who have won study grants and received funding for a culinary course. At first no one, not even her family members, believed she would be able to master this new profession and start working, but Zina graduated from the course with merit, became a certified cook and started working at the newly opened kindergarten in her village.

It has already been seven months since going to work became a part of Zina’s everyday life. Her professionalism makes her a key asset in maintaining the quality of the services delivered by the kindergarten: “My life has acquired a totally different feeling of joy. Working with the kindergarten students, I am filled with an amazing feeling of positive energy”, Zina tells us.

Alongside Zina, the lives of hundreds of women living in rural areas have been positively impacted within the activities implemented by Taso Foundation, Kakheti Regional Development Center, and CARE Caucasus within the scope of the UN Women project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus”. More than 50 women have received professional study grants, mastered dream professions and found employment based on the professional skills acquired through the education they have received, while more than 150 women have received small-scale economic grants and started financially profitable activities. Some of them have become employers themselves and provide for the financial well-being not only of their families but of their communities as well. Like Zina, these women have become role-models for positive change: Zina’s story has positively impacted other women in her community. As she tells us, they too have become more daring and motivated; that is why Zina does not plan on stopping where she is now. She wants to proceed with her education and deepen her knowledge even further.

The UN Women regional project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” is carried out with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the Government of Slovakia.