Giorgi, founder of Georgian NGO Droni: From Street Music festival to a collaboration space for youth
Giorgi is a founder of Youth Association DRONI, a non-governmental organization in Georgia. DRONI offers all kind of activities to young people, including IT workshops, musical festivals and football matches. Through series of events and workshops Droni also highlights question of human rights of internally displaced people after the conflict in South Ossetia in 2008.
To find out more, connect with DRONI on Facebook.
1) What is a story behind DRONI?
Youth Association DRONI is a non-governmental organization which organizes a lot of youth development programs. The aim of the organization is to support young people’s physical, spiritual and educational development, in the above mentioned fields. The target groups are children, youth, students, teachers, refugees. The organization is focusing its activities mostly in Caucasus region and cooperates with different NGO’s in Europe.
I have founded the organization with the aim to create a space for young people where the creativity, confidence intelligence and sociability would combine and help youngsters to be connected not only in a limited area but with the world as well.
2) DRONI organizes number of events – how do you choose them, which one has been most successful and what was the response of participants?
Every year the number of the activities Youth Association DRONI is organizing is greatly increasing, I try to take part in almost all of the events which is organized by DRONI, some of them are really huge and mostly all the members of DRONI are involved in them. The biggest and the most successful project is "Street Music Day” festival, which is the third year it’s held in Georgia, this is a day when in the streets of Tbilisi all the musicians, professionals and non-professionals of all ages, gender and nationality can sing different kinds of music and play different instruments, the participants have a chance to introduce themselves to the wide audience and of course, this is a great opportunity for less famous musicians and bands to become famous, they just have to express their feelings.
3) Part of your activities are aimed at IDP (Internally Displaced Persons after 2008 war between Georgia and Russia over the South Ossetia region). Can you tell us more about the conditions these communities are living in? What is your focus and long-term goal there?
Youth Association DRONI is organizing many activities which are aimed at IDP’s from South Ossetia region, who really don’t live in good conditions. From 2008 until today the main problems to solve have been housing and shelter, sometimes they live in overcrowded accommodations, in some places they are lacking even basic facilities. In spite of the fact, that Georgian government has tried to improve housing conditions, in some cases it isn’t enough, besides a lot of IDPs don’t have jobs and many continue to depend on government benefits as their main source of income.
4) From all the stories you have heard in the communities, which one stands out in your memory?
Of course, all the stories connected to 2008 war are emotional, in the communities where IDPs live you can here them a lot, the stories are mostly about how they were forced to leave their houses, they were watching how their houses were bombed, people were killed and more and more like this, that’s why l can’t separate any of them, but the most important and memorable for me is that they are happy and hopeful when people provide them with emotional support.
5) What do you think about the effectiveness of the international help so far and what in your opinion could international organizations, private donors or volunteer do to help going forward, to address the issues more effectively?
Many international organizations, individuals, companies, international non-governmental organizations can play the huge role in the lives of IDPs, they can support them by the forms of donations, grants and other costs, also with products, equipment, educational projects and various kinds of events. All these above mentioned ways are very affective and they help people for whom this is very important.
In coming month our young people are organising a Street Music Day, which is very public event and many known or not known musicians can play, for that we started an online fundraising, more details can be found here.
6) Talking about the partners - how do you connect with organizations – do you actively look for them or do they come to you?
We are of course in the process of developing new partnership, and new partner/s means new possibilities, new ideas, new approach, what makes us more powerful. Some times we are approaching interesting organisations, some times new organisations are approaching us, so usually it works in both ways.
Besides, DRONI has its own web-page on the internet platform and its own group page on facebook or twitter as well. Every new event is published so that internet users have access to be informed. Also trainings especially international ones are great helpers to gain more connections, be kept in touch with different organizations that helps us to be collaborative . That is mostly how cooperation works.
7) If anyone would like to come to Georgia and start, say an educational program, what cultural specifics they should be aware of?
Everybody who comes to Georgia, a tourist or a person for different purposes who wants to stay here for a long time should learn about Georgian traditions, Georgian music, dances, art, folklore roots, poetry also that Georgia is an Orthodox country. Each region in Georgia is so different according to their customs and traditions. But what is in common among them is Georgians’ huge hospitality that amazes tourists and every visitor. This is the country where you can see the combination of European and Asian culture. As for georgian cousine there are the tastes or flavours that one can find only here. We reckon Georgia is definitely worth visiting country.
8) As I mentioned educational program – do you follow the development in online education sector? Do you think communities you are working with could practically benefit from this?
Nowadays there are a lot of online educational programs, as for me, follow on some of them, mainly online education linked with Human rights education. Council of Europe has very rich publications and opportunities.
9) What are your plans for the near future and what is your biggest dream?
To build Youth House, where young people from different sub cultures: musician, parkers, dancers, hip-hopers, artists, writers, etc. can gather and hang out, practice, share and learn new skills.
10) Is there anything you would like to add?
Georgia is interesting and diverse country, I sincerely hope you are already aware of being welcomed here.