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EU Supports the First VET School of Social Entrepreneurship in Georgia

06/01/2022

Giorgi Kalachiani is one of the 25 people who work at the social enterprise “Kodala”, where its beneficiaries develop their skills of making environmentally friendly toys and souvenirs.

Until  recently, Giorgi had no idea  how to work with wood, and now he together with others can get a profession at vocational social entrepreneurship school “Kodala”, that was opened with support of the European Union. “Kodala” was funded by the EU4Youth Social Entrepreneurship in Armenia and Georgia (SEAG) project, implemented by Mercy Corps, an international NGO, and its partner organizations:  ABCO Georgia and NGO “Development Principles”. The social enterprise was awarded an EU grant that helped the school to purchase modern equipment, and increase production by 15-20%. Today, Kodala can produce up to 7,000 toys a month. After the expansion, Kodala needs new staff, and the plan is to  create 10 more new jobs next year, with a focus on people with disabilities.

‘With the knowledge and skills they gain at our school, our beneficiaries can sell their works using the Kodala sales line, both in Georgia and abroad. As we try to decentralize production, our graduates make some details needed for our toys and souvenirs in the regions, and then the final product is produced in in Tbilisi. As a result, we offer jobs in the regions and the beneficiaries get decent remuneration,’ says Kote Svanadze, Kodala’s founder and principal of the School of Social Entrepreneurship.

The opening of a vocational school of social entrepreneurship is very important. The project aims at provision of knowledge-based practice to beneficiaries aged 18 to 29, from Kakheti , Shida Kartli and Tbilisi, that will master their skills needed for future professional development and employment opportunities.

We congratulate Kodala on the opening of the Vocational School  which is a further step to promote social entrepreneurship and inclusive studying and working environment for the youth. The latter is one of the main objectives of the EU4Youth programme. We hope this enterprise will have multiplying effect and will inspire more similar initiatives on local level.” stated Nino Samvelidze, Programme Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia,

The EU-funded project is being implemented in two countries – Armenia and Georgia, and has funded a total of 33 social enterprises in the various fields. The main goal is to popularize social entrepreneurship, increase involvement of people with disabilities in economic activities, create an inclusive environment for them and offer jobs for young people, especially in the regions.

“This is an unprecedented case, which helps young people acquire certain skills and get jobs in social enterprises. At the same time, it is important that the project provides employment opportunities for the socially vulnerable and disabled, so that they can escape from the problematic environment in which they have to live today,” says Gia Sarukhanishvili, SEAG Project Director.

With the support of the European Union, from now on, beneficiaries of Kodala “Vocational School of Social Entrepreneurship”can master new professions, improve their skills, study woodworking and furniture making, computer programming and artistic designing, , which would help them to re-socialize, find jobs and improve financial conditions. The social enterprise will diversify its export markets, with Kodala toys selling to even more EU countries.

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