Issue 5, 2018. October-November


Innovators and Disruptors: Ideas to Bring Change

Georgian entrepreneurs are pushing the country's development forward. This column is about how Georgia's best and brightest are challenging the limits of technology and the market to create the businesses that will change our lives today and shape our future. In this issue,'s Nino Bakradze spoke with's Mari Gelashvili about a startup that hopes to make the internet accessible for every Georgian family.

Nino Bakradze

Mishiko, 16, wants to be connected to the wider world. Specifically, he wants access to the internet at school in order to study better.

The people at hope they have a way to grant his wish., a start-up project within Educare Georgia, is a platform for people to donate funds to purchase internet access for poor families.

Currently about 78,000 children live in poverty in Georgia and do not have access to the internet. By making monthly donations, anyone can help buy computers and pay for regular internet access for families in need.

The project began in 2017 and has already connected 166 families to the internet.

Mari Gelashvili, project coordinator, told that the idea to create came when staff members at Educare Georgia were translating different online courses from English to Georgian.

As they worked on the translations, they realized that people might not have access to the products that they were creating. So they decided to make the internet more accessible for poor families.

Gelashvili says that's initial priority was to fund internet connections for internally displaced children living in and near Gori. Now plans to expand to help families in Guria, a poor region in western Georgia.

Eventually, hopes to support all Georgian families who do not have access to the internet and to online educational programs. Gelashvili notes the program does not end with access to the internet: provides a package of online lessons, digital books and online courses to children. "We give them a chance to learn new things, find their own way and become innovators in the field each likes the most," Gelashvili told

In order to find families to help, organizers at gather information about children in need from schools. Their names are added to the website, and then donors can select a montly rate to pay toward funding an intertnet connection for a specific child. Gelashvili says that project is popular among donors: there are currently about 300 donors, both individuals and companies, who want to invest in education.

While the government has promised to make the internet accessible for every Georgian citizen, is determined to work independently with private and company sponsors.

Gelashvili added that cultivates a personal relationship with donors, and works hard to update them on how their support is helping children.

"A couple of weeks ago I was with a family that includes a 16-year-old boy. He never had a computer or access to the internet. He even did not believe that someone could give it to him. He was nervous and happy at the same time, but could not express his emotions completely. We, who have access to the internet and computers, and they are part of our lives, think it is normal way to live. We do not realize how big a gift and happiness it if for people who live in poverty-and there are lots of them here. So we need to do more and help them," Gelashvili said.