Greenhouse in the schoolyard
The Youth Bank has one of the most active committees in the Marneuli district. Along with committee members, the authors of projects, i.e. young persons who turn ideas into projects, are quite active too and in a joint effort with the committee carry out the work for the benefit of their local community.
This process is supported by the Europe Foundation within the framework of its Youth Integration program. This year the youth of Marneuli district set a precedent – they built a greenhouse in the school territory of Maradisi village in the Marneuli district to generate income.
The construction of the greenhouse commenced in September. It was constructed over 100 square meters of land. When built, lettuce was planted which has been successfully sold. The income of up to GEL 200 has been generated so far. Half of the harvest has already been reaped and soon the process will start over again – to buy seeds, grow seedlings from them, then replant seedlings into the soil, water them, tend and grow them and then harvest and deliver to village distributors for realization. This process will continue throughout the year.
“We had some difficulties at the beginning: we roof the construction twice because of the mistake which we made the first time. Nonetheless, we enjoy doing everything because we know that we are doing this for a good cause,” Mariam Paksadze, a Youth Bank member, said.
The main idea of this process is to use proceeds for the benefit of the community. With the first income from the greenhouse they intend to turn a building next to the school territory into a public space, to buy books, arrange a meeting place and create an alternative space to conduct extracurricular activities.
“This is not our first project. The participation in the Europe Foundation’s program over years gave us an opportunity to implement local projects. Initially, we worked on environmental projects and carried out eco-projects – planted trees in the school territory, tidied up the environment, installed trash bins, made compost to promote modern agricultural technologies; just recently, we constructed the greenhouse and we are happy that we are able to benefit the village.” Mariam said.
They plan to expand the greenhouse in the future as, according to them, the school territory allows for that. Apart from lettuce they intend to grow flowers and sell them profitably in the spring.
“We constantly try to equip youth with skills and resources necessary for the implementation of projects. We work with them regularly to enable them to mobilize the community, engage peers in projects, gain support from adults and trigger interest among the local authorities in order to ensure a positive outcome of their projects,” said Nata Petriashvili, the manager of Europe Foundation’s Youth Integration program.
According to her, young people have already undertaken a number of trainings, including in community mobilization, environmental protection, social entrepreneurship. All this helps them develop a correct vision how to address local problems, how to solve this or that issue through their activity and gain support from the local community.
“We can cite a number of examples how we managed to improve the environment through engaging population. A little while ago we volunteered to collect money: we travelled around villages near the region, explained to population that we wanted to plant trees in the territory of school and promised them to name trees in their names if they engage and assist us with small amounts of money. As a result, we collected GEL 2,500. With this money we planted trees in the school territory and changed our environment,” the Youth Bank member, Meri Bolkvadze, said.
“Adults are no longer surprised about our initiatives. Parents, teachers, neighbors have been watching our activity over the years and now they trust us so much that assist us to the maximum extent.”
The aim of the Youth Integration program of Europe Foundation is to increase civic engagement and volunteering among youth in accordance with the needs of local communities. For further information please go to: https://epfound.ge/programs/current-programs-activities/youth-integration/