Grandmother and Grandson Raise Awareness about Environmental Issues

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Daria and Tornike

People of any age can change their communities for the better. Daria Shatirishvili, 62, and Tornike Kvachantiradze, 14, are a grandmother and grandson team fighting to protect the environment in their home village of Kviriketi in Guria.

When Daria and Tornike  noticed that quarrying activities were damaging local roads and water supplies, they snapped into action, mobilizing their neighbors to protest the excavation of stone, rubble, and other materials from nearby Bzhuzhi gorge.

“Tractors started taking stone and rubble from the gorge, the wells dried up and the roads were damaged. An ecological catastrophe was imminent, so Tornike and I decided to show the strength of our united community,” says Daria.     

The movement started small, with Daria and Tornike engaging a group of local youth who shared their concerns about the environment. 

Apart from the more “adult” problem of disrupted water supplies and damaged roads, Tornike and his friends faced other challenges– they couldn’t swim or fish anymore, and their recreation spaces were taken away from them. They wanted to somehow bring the river back.      

Daria explained the significance of caring for the environment to her grandson and his friends. With Tornike’s leadership, a small group of activists was created.

“My love for Georgia starts from my village and I want the next generations to love the river as much as I do. Ecology is everything: it is the earth, the air, it is our harvest,” says Daria.

In the beginning, Daria’s only supporters were a bicycle brigade of children, but soon, she managed to persuade other neighbors to join the cause. “At first it was just us and the kids, later the other villagers said that the grove was theirs as well, and the whole village decided to stand together. We managed to make an impact. No one thought that kids and the village could have this much power.”

After saving the river, Tornike and his friend are now planning to start cleaning the riverbank and are planning to establish a movement to protect the local environment. 

“We can’t play here, construction materials were left behind as well as broken glass. We plan to clean it ourselves, but we want to talk to the mayor’s office, so that the majority of trash can be taken away with machinery,” says Tornike.

Tornike and his friends are also writing the script for the puppet show aimed at raising awareness about environmental issues among younger kids in the community.

Last updated: March 12, 2021

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