The EU-supported sewing workshop, run by nuns at the Kviratskhovloba Convent in Dedoplistskaro municipality in Kakheti, is producing 5000 medical masks to respond the crisis caused by the COVID-19. The nuns will hand over the masks to the Municipality City Hall to ensure their targeted distribution to the people at risk, medical staff and those in the front line of the fight against the pandemic.
“Due to the crisis situation we have decided to produce the medical masks. They are in high demand and in a very short supply not only in our municipality, but in the country. Given the state of emergency, people find it difficult to purchase them. Our nunnery workshop will produce 5000 masks within 10 days. Ultimate beneficiary of our product will be residents of Dedoplistskaro municipality,” says Mother Ketevan.
The Dedoplistskaro Local Group (LAG), set up with the support of the EU, has announced a small grant competition in early April 2020 to help reduce the risk of spreading the infection at the time of pandemic. Following the LAG’s decision, the EU grant in the amount of 6,120 GEL was awarded to the sewing workshop of the nunnery of Mirzaani Convent.
The nuns won the first EU grant back in 2019, when they took part in the competition announced by Dedoplistskaro LAG and organization HEKS/EPER within the framework of the EU’s ENPARD programme. With EU support, nuns built a sewing workshop and bought several sewing machines.
One of the goals of the sewing workshop was to promote tourism services in the municipality. The village of Mirzaani is the home of the Museum of landmark Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani. Tourists often visit the Pirosmani Museum as well as the nearby monastery. The nuns’ workshop and its gift shop offer tourists handmade items and souvenirs created with traditional Georgian ornaments.
At the same time, nuns workshop gives local women the opportunity to learn traditional handicrafts and become employed. They learn to embroider, sew, process felt, and make various handmade souvenirs in the Convent workshop. The items created by them are also sold in the nunnery shop, which gives local women economic benefit.
The nunnery’s support and active involvement in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is a good example of the social responsibility of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The EU-supported ENPARD project “Promoting Citizen Engagement for Economic Development (PROCEED)” is implemented by HEKS/EPER Georgia in partnership with the Biological Farming Association “Elkana”. The project aims at contributing to the diversification of local economy, increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty in the Dedoplistskaro municipality of the Kakheti region.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through the ENPARD programme. The programme is implemented in Georgia since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million. More information on ENPARD is available at www.enpard.ge.