Integrating IDPs via handcraft
30 September, 2010
Integrating IDPs via handcraft

Exhibition and sale of handcraft pieces of Georgian IDPs was held on September 24-25, 2010 with the aim to make IDPs more integrated in the society. On the other hand, IDP women took a chance to be trained in business planning and received certificates.

Exhibition of handcraft of internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)that was held within the framework of EU-supported project ‘Together We Can’ exhibited art-pieces of both professionals and armature IDPs without age limits: creative works of children, teenagers and

adults adorned the walls of exhibition hall of Karvasla, Tbilisi History Museum in downtown old Tbilisi,  on September 24-25, 2010.  Exhibition charmed the visitors with diversified samples of art including paintings, sculpture, engraving and woodcut, as well as colorful pieces of old Georgian folk art Teka [Georgian textile fine-fleeced thick felt with artistic embossing], and some other handcrafts of exquisite design and facture like wickerwork vases neatly braided by needles of conifers. Naive children paintings bespoke of their masters gift and good wills. All were for sale. Creative IDPs enjoyed some financial profits thanks to that exhibition.


According to Nino Petridisi, a Spokesperson of Association Atinati, Zugdidi Community Center focused on IDPs promotion, who represented mainly Teka works of six people including a little boy Giorgi Bakuradze who depicts icons on Teka. He has sold works of GEL 60 worth on the first day of exhibition and was waiting for more profit.
“Teka are now in fashion and great demand, and IDP women became interested to learn Teka craft so as to have some financial incomes. Now this exhibition is very good impetus to them, they feel integrated in the society,” Petrisidi told Georgian Journal. The goal of exhibition was just the same: to make IDPs  feel integrated in the society and enjoy some financial income. Collection of prose and poetry of IDPs was published and distributed free of charge.
“The purpose of this exhibition was to promote creative works of IDPs and help them to be integrated in the society as well as enjoy financial profit. Maybe some works have no serious value from professional point of view but they have an emotional effect, we did not refuse any willing person to participate in the event and be exhibited,” Dodo Chumburidze, PR Manger of Association of Young Economist of Georgia (AYEG) explained to Georgian Journal. The event was organized by AYEG in frames of the Together We Can project supported by Oxfam, Welfare Foundation and Association Dea [IDP-related non-governmental watchdog that operates in Samegrelo, west Georgia] and is focused on IDP issues.
Training  of IDP business-oriented ladies and disbursing grants is another part of the questioned project. This component provides IDP women [who had experience in running small business or want to start micro and small business] with training opportunities in business planning as well as small grants to enable them to start or enhance businesses. A month-long training was held in August of 2010, and successful IDP businesswomen were granted by certificates during the exhibition event on September 25, 2010.

New amendment apparently makes consumers more vulnerable as leaves them tete-a-tete to companies that are enticed to abuse their power so as to enjoy higher tolls, and replaces court from the central position to the end of the chain that complicates litigation procedures, but mandating GNERC with the court functions guarantees protection of consumers rights better than before, Pkhakadze believes.  
Malkhaz Dzidzikashvili, ex-Ombudsman at GNERC and active Head of Legal Department at GNERC at the moment, shuns commenting whether or not the amendment complicates or eases the situation from consumers’ rights protection point of view.
“I prefer to refrain from expressing my private opinion respective to this issue,” He told Georgian Journal.
Davit Ebralidze, another ex-ombudsman at GNERC, believes the new amendment cuts much ice with companies rather than consumers’ interests.

“This amendment was initiated to woo companies’ interests in fact and not to discharge courts. There is a huge difference. According to old regulation, companies could not practice any fine till the protocol was not approved by court. Now companies can act at their own discretion and their action can be prohibited only if a consumer lodges a complaint against its protocol. That obviously complicates the situation for consumers the more so that bigger part of population is not informed of their rights to appeal to court/GNERC,” He explained to Georgian Journal.  
Pkakadze counters that companies have an obligation to inform the suspected consumers on their rights that they can lodge a complaint against company at court/GNERC. If they do not provide the pursued consumers by full information on their rights, companies will get a warning paper for the first time, and will be fined by GEL 5 thousand for repeated misdemeanor. The penalty increases to GEL 15 thousand and GEL 45 thousand afterwards, and if the company does not observe the demanded regulations it can lose a license ultimately.

“Besides courts are related with extra payment imposed on filing lawsuits and frequently have been drawing unfair decisions, whilst empowering the GNERC with court rights can spare consumers from extra outlays and insure impartial judgment,” Pkhakadze said.
Ebralidze thumbs up that the GNERC is equalized with the court that really can guarantee better protection of consumers’ rights and draw impartial verdicts, but he believes that this novelty can work only if awareness in population will be raised.
“It is one thing when companies are obliged to inform their consumers of their rights that bigger part of consumers cannot or will not use as far as GNERC is not available to entire Georgian population from distance point of view. On the other hand consumers were automatically informed and involved in the litigation procedures when the court was positioned between company and consumer. Court [when discussing a protocol approval case] is responsible to inform the consumer to attend the court session and keeps them in course of affairs,” Ebralidze said. 


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