Issue 5, 2015. October-November



From spice production to tour agencies, Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF)and the Swedish government have supported a number of initiatives to help people with disabilities lead full and productive lives in Georgia. The following is a short summary of just a few of the projects they have made possible over the past few years. For more information, please visit

"Through Eurasia Partnership Foundation we have supported social integration of mentally disabled people through civic monitoring and advocacy; contributing to development of national mental health policy in Georgia; providing accessibility of tourism infrastructure..." noted Helena Sancho, the First Secretary of Development Cooperation at the Swedish Embassy in Georgia.

"We also have supported a project that specifically works with empowering people with disabilities in order to make them active members of society, so that they and their families are better able to advocate for their rights and needs. Another project has supported a creation of an online map that provides information about wheel chair accessibility of various public buildings (e.g. cafes, restaurants, government offices, etc.) to the PWDs and their families, so as to improve their access to social, cultural or economic activities."

Accessible tourism

EPF supported Parsa, a non-government organization (NGO) to assess the accessibility of tourism sites, hotels and cafes in Adjara and Samegrelo regions of Georgia. The information was then entered into a database on the NGO's website,

Levan Areshidze, an accessibility auditor and a tour-agent of the tourism agency Parsa, was part of the project. "I am a wheelchair user. After undergoing special trainings, I started working in the organization as an expert. Together with my colleague, who has hearing impairments, I conducted accessibility audits of 39 public places in Adjara and Samegrelo regions. After that, Georgian National Tourism Administration contracted us, Parsa, to undertake accessibility audit for tourist infrastructure in Telavi, Sighnaghi, and Kvareli municipalities," he was quoted as saying in an EPF report about the project.

"Full-fledged member of society"

The Social Enterprise Ertad, which is supported by EPFwas launched in the beginning of 2013. It was able to receive concessional loan from TBC Bank as part of the initiative launched by EPF in cooperation with Tbilisi City Hall.

The production line of the SE Ertad employs two wheel chaired workers to pack its main product, the Svanetian salt (salt mixed with Georgian spices), which is now soldat supermarket chains in Tbilisi. Hera, another local NGO, also worked with EPF to create a sound recording studio that employs people with special needs.

Davit Kviriliani, who has worked at the studio, told EPF "being employed in a social enterprise creates opportunities for people with various disabilities, as they are given chance to show their intelligence, develop skills and simply become integrated in the society. For me personally, working in the social enterprise - sound recording studio HERA, provides opportunity to have close contacts with people and be involved in public relations. I feel that I am a full-fledged member of the society."