Kabali - Educational challenges in the village where fathers decide future

Photo credit:  Mariam Nikuradze for Chaikhana
Kabali is one of the largest village in Lagodekhi region, inhabited by Azerbaijani population. Since 2015 there is as Public Center in the village which provides locals with different services without traveling to the nearest town. The center provides them with property registrations service, it gives birth certificate and also shares space for trainings.

This time, Women’s Information Center is visiting Kabali at the Public Center for talking about gender roles and stereotypes with local teachers and high school students. The contingent was chosen on purpose and as looks like this approach is more result oriented.  In the village where there are still many cases of domestic violence, child marriage and issues with property ownership, new generation is considered to be the one that can make change.

Nino Khutsishvili is assistant teacher of Georgian language in Kabaly public school. She came here 2 years ago from Telavi. During this time, she became familiar with problems in community. She explains that the new generation is more adaptable to the new things.

She says that the main problem in Kabali community is lack of awareness about different issues. Facing a range of problems, they don’t have mechanism to cope with them and first of all this concerns women. Nino Khutsishvili says that children can bring to their families more information, while most of the adults in Kabali don’t speak Georgian language.

The teacher says that progress at some point is visible in the community. “Cases of abandoning schools by girls, aren’t so common lately”- she says. “School has all the necessary leverages to prevent such facts and we act as soon as we detect that a student might abandon the school. We start using assistance mechanism immediately”- she explains and adds that in general, Azeri native teachers don't show interest to participate  in special trainings on child marriage and other issues.

The teacher thinks that the only way to motivate young girls is face to face talks with them about future professions, importance of education and its results. Nino Khutsishvili often contacts girls to the professional schools.

The  level of high education in the village is law, both - in girls and boys. This is because of the fact that studies are expensive and universities are situated in Tbilisi or in other towns. So, locals prefer to follow their traditions, stay home and help their households.

In case of girls the question of receiving high education stands even more seldom.  “They aren’t able to choose their professions. May be because we are making first steps towards the aim to make graduate level education more common in community”-Nino Khutsishvili says.

In conversation local people also confirm that mostly girls have to abandon schools because of early marriage. Sometimes parents don’t want their teenage daughters to interact with boys and they make them stay home. As a result of this, in some graduating classes, there is only one girl left.

Village Kabali is often visited by different NGOs. Georgia’s Young Lawyers Association is actively engaged into work in the community. It studies the cases related to property rights, domestic violence et.c. But in spite of this, people still remain behind closed doors.  Speaking about cases, it turns out that in strictly patriarchal environment women are deprived from ownership rights if she gives birth to a child with disabilities and the man in the family (mostly fathers-in-law) doesn’t consider him/her as a heir.

In contrast to this, there are some successful cases in community too. Women still manage to use their skills in different ways. Women open tailor’s saloons. One of such projects from Kabali, even won government initiated grant competition “Produce in Georgia”. Overall tendency shows that professionally developed women in Kabali try to give good education to their children and to teach them Georgian better. “They only need desire and success is there” – says Nino Khutsishvili. 

Original version in Georgian at GINSC