Georgia is located between Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It shares borders with many countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia to the north. Georgia has long been a friend to the United States, actively seeking full integration into NATO, and even committing troops to serve in Afghanistan alongside American soldiers. Its charted course towards NATO integration was altered, however, when Russia invaded the small country in 2008. With so many of their resources now focused on countering further aggression from Russian troops still occupying their country, some things get neglected, including funding for remote schools. One Civil Affairs team, working in a rural community, along with local leaders, understood the importance of access to education and quality facilities for children and reached out to Spirit of America to help them repair a school’s gymnasium.
The Civil Affairs team went to Kvemo Kartli, an ethnically diverse region in southern Georgia, to visit one of the main schools. During their visit they met with the principal and learned that the school’s gymnasium was in a state of disrepair. The broken window screens, damaged floor, peeling paint and crumbling interior walls severely limit its ability to be used for classes, after school activities, and meetings, where residents gather to discuss community issues.
When the team met with the school director to find a solution, they learned that there wasn’t money in the Georgian Ministry of Education budget to make the much needed repairs. Knowing that the repairs were critical for the students to be able to use the facility and for the community to be able to take pride in the central feature of their town, the team reached out to Spirit of America.
They explained that more than 200 students from three ethnic groups attend this school. It provides traditional reading, writing and arithmetic classes, but what makes this school really special is that it also provides Georgian language classes for minority students. To continue their education and compete for jobs in the future, students need to master the Georgian language.
Part of keeping them in school is giving them a building that they can use and be proud of.
With your support, Spirit of America can make the much needed repairs to the gym and, in doing so, help the Civil Affairs team strengthen their relationships with the community.