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The Waiting Hill and The Community

Georgia: Amidst the whine and the cornfields of the fertile plane of Kakheti, the town of Khedeli is a home to the curative education initiative “The Union of Therapy of Socially Disabled people of Sighnaghi Region” since 1999. The centre of the initiative is a bio-dynamically cultivated farm, which is completed by several workshops. More than 20 people with special needs live here all of which are aged between 19-35. Everybody is contributing to the existence of the social community in the range of their own possibilities. They are being accompanied and supported by ten tutors as well as two volunteers from the “Weltwärts” program.

Khedeli is the name of a small town, which has been abandoned during the 1960’s. Only one man stayed on the “waiting hill” – “Khed” means hill and “eli” stands for waiting – while the fields were left fallow and the approach road started to fall apart. But not only a hill was waiting: Temur, who has been disabled since birth, did not find anybody to play with, since all the children were afraid of him. Tea, another child being struck by a disability had to lie on bed day after day and could not see the world outside her room.

These are examples showing the difficult situation in Georgia, a country where a lot is changing and people with special needs are being left outside of society. Only 1% of these people are actually allowed to work, but the majority is often tranquilized with pharmaceuticals or hidden by their families, since they are considered “unable to learn”.

Ever since Khedeli is full of activity on the farm and in the workshops, there is a community in rural Georgia, in which people with disabilities are actually accepted, supported and trained. Temur loves to bring milk to an old peoples home and Tea has discovered her interest in cooking since she does no longer have to stay in bed all day.

Due to the fact that the social community cooperates with the curative Education School “Michael” and the social therapeutic day care centre in Tbilisi, a sustainable assistance and support is guaranteed. In Khedeli the aim remains to live up to the pioneer spirit and thus make a difference as a cultural and therapeutic centre for the whole region. The municipality of Sighnaghi is very open-minded and thankful for the donation of self-made products of the initiative to public orphanages and children’s homes in the region.

In 2011 the initiative celebrated the opening of its new “Khedeli” cafe in Sighnaghi, for which the residents of the community had made ​​tables and chairs in the wood workshops. Obviously they will remember this day as a day they are incredibly proud of. Another highlight was the purchase of an urgently necessary new van with funds from the Friends of Waldorf Education and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

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Contact

The Union of Therapy of Socially Disabled people of Sighnaghi Region
Baratshvili str.
#15
383210 Sighnaghi
Georgia
Ph +995 355 31048
signagi@heim.ge

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