A daycare center ‘Tebe’ in Borjomi serves over 30 people with disabilities, offering them space for social integration, rehabilitation and employment. Recently, the center received a patch of fertile land from the Borjomi municipality and built a green ‘Tebeland’ with a greenhouse and a small nursery for growing fir trees, pines, birches and endemic spruces. The new facility helps people with disabilities to engage in environmental work and assists the municipality to nurture and restore the famous Borjomi forest.
This inclusive green initiative was implemented by ‘Together for Real Change’, a civil society organization for disability rights, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Program. The Borjomi City Hall and the German aid agency ‘Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund’ contributed to the project with some additional assistance.
To transform ‘Tebeland’ into a successful social enterprise, people with disabilities and ‘Tebe’s staff visited a greenhouse in Bakuriani to master seed and seedling care. They also learned why forests are so important for mitigating climate change and adapting to its adverse effects, and how to protect themselves during climate-induced disasters.
Aiming to support the social integration of people with disabilities, ‘Tebeland’ welcomes guests from the local community. Schoolchildren and teachers from Borjomi public schools often come to visit and work together in the greenhouse.
As trees grow in the nursery, ‘Tebeland’ also keeps growing as an inclusive and green cooperation space for all.
“People with disabilities are routinely left out of conversations and action for a clean and healthy environment. Our community project in Borjomi proves that they can and should be part of green and sustainable solutions. We hope that it will serve as a successful model for other municipalities,” said Nino Antadze, UNDP Energy and Environment Team Leader in Georgia.
The UNDP-managed GEF Small Grants Program has been supporting community-based environmental initiatives in Georgia for over a decade, working in partnership with local authorities and civil society organizations to protect and conserve fragile ecosystems, promote sustainable agriculture and fisheries, increase access to low-carbon energy, and catalyze sustainable urban solutions.