UNDP opens a social inclusion center that provides vital services to people with disabilities and to local communities of the mountainous Racha region
A new social inclusion center with the capacity to provide vital services to over 50 people with disabilities opened in the village of Sadmeli, Ambrolauri Municipality. At the center, people with disabilities can develop learning and employment skills and take part in physical rehabilitation programs. The entire community at large will benefit from the center’s cooperation and partnership spaces.
Center facilities include a specialized gym, a library, a vocational training classroom and a combined print shop and bookbinder. These will provide much-needed jobs, training, counseling, physiotherapy and inclusive outdoor space for people with disabilities. The center will also serve as a social space for the elderly and local youth. Its unique facilities and colorful murals created by renowned social artist Musya Qeburia have already turned the center into a local landmark.
The social inclusion center was established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Together For Real Change, a Georgian civil society organization. The Governments of Bulgaria and Poland also contributed by equipping the center with disability-friendly technology and by building a greenhouse to grow vegetables and create additional employment opportunities for beneficiaries and staff.
The center was opened on 12 June by UNDP Acting Head Anna Chernyshova; Ambassador of Bulgaria Dessislava Ivanova and Ambassador of Poland Mariusz Maszkiewicz. They were joined in the ceremony by Governor of Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti Papuna Margvelidze; Ambrolauri Mayor Zviad (Davit) Mkheidze; Deputy Public Defender Ekaterine Skhiladze and Head of Together For Real Change Nana Lomadze.
The enjoyable and entertaining outdoor event brought together residents of Ambrolauri and nearby villages, including people with disabilities and local civil society representatives.
“Despite Georgia’s notable progress in recent years, people with disabilities remain one of the most excluded and marginalized groups of society. In our quest for an inclusive society, we must ensure that they enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities in all areas of life,” Chernyshova said. “In Ambrolauri, we are presenting a unique model of social inclusion that serves the needs of people with disabilities and the local community and opens space for integration and partnership.”
“Georgia still has a long way to go to build an inclusive environment and infrastructure and to ensure that people with disabilities receive all the support they need to fully integrate into society,” Skhiladze said. “The social inclusion center in Ambrolauri is setting an example that should be followed by all municipalities across the country.”
UNDP support to the Ambrolauri center for social inclusion draws on a joint, six-UN agency program to improve social protection for persons with disabilities. Resources from the US$2 million initiative are available through the United Nation’s Fund for Sustainable Development Goals.
For over a decade, UNDP has been supporting Georgia’s efforts to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and to build a more inclusive society. To reach these goals, UNDP has worked in partnership with the government, other UN agencies and a wide array of national and international actors.