Khodaivandy is a member of Georgia's one of the largest diasporas – the group of thousands of ethnic Georgians who were exiled to Persia 400 years ago.
A Georgian girl from Iran
Throughout the Caucasus, many believe that the community in which you were born determines who you are and what you become. But three ethnic Azerbaijani women in Georgia have found ways to defy those barriers and to craft their own identities as independent professionals.
Georgia: Three Women Who Bust Barriers
The Yazidis, ethnic kin to the Kurds, live predominantly in northern Iraq, northern Syria and eastern Turkey, and follow a monotheistic faith that incorporates elements of Christianity, Judaism and Islam alongside a belief in reincarnation. Known in the Caucasus for their presence in Armenia – soon to be the site of the world’s largest Yazidi temple – they are believed to have inhabited Georgia since the beginning of the 19th century. But despite that history in Georgia, this ethno-religious community, some members say, faces challenges. At about 12, 000 people, the number of Yazidi Georgians has shrunk by a third since 2002, according to official data. Overall, they currently account for well under 1 percent of the country’s 3.7-million population.
Georgia’s Yazidis: Religion as Identity
In Marneuli, the seat of the predominantly ethnic Azerbaijani region of Kvemo Kartli, a search for a moral compass -- if not devotion to Islam itself -- often explains why residents send their children to a school, or madrasa, that teaches about Islam.
Georgia’s Madrasas: Educating Women
Nearly two centuries after Russia’s Doukhobors (Spirit Wrestlers) were exiled to Georgia, the fate of their tiny community lies in the hands of its young members. A small religious minority, the Doukhobors built a home in Georgia in the 1840s, after falling afoul of the tsarist Russian Empire. For generations, they thrived in the area, settling into eight villages
Two Kristinas: The Fate and Future of Georgia’s Doukhobors
Negar Khodaivandy, 21, loves the scarf she wears around her neck. It is the same scarf she uses as chador in Iran. One scarf bridges two very worlds, carried by a girl who was born of two very different cultures. Khodaivandy is one of dozens of young Iranians who are moving to Georgia. More accurately, they are moving back to Georgia, their ancestral homeland. Khodaivandy is a member of Georgia's one of the largest diasporas – the group of thousands of ethnic Georgians who were exiled to Persia 400 years ago. Starting from the early 17th century, ethnic Georgians in Iran were forced to settle in the town of Fereydunshahr. Georgians converted to Shia Islam but maintained Georgian traditions, including the language, although over the past four centuries it has taken on some local traits, including a very specific accent.
A Georgian girl from Iran
A maze of tightly packed stalls with drab tin roofs and shops, the Eliava opened in 1995. The Soviet Union’s meltdown in 1991 had led Georgia to two civil wars, pushed its economy in freefall and driven its people into desperate bread lines. Tbilisians would flock to the newly opened market to find cheap repair material to fix anything from bathrooms to roofs. Since then, every day thousands of vendors offer a bonanza of shower coils and taps, nuts and bolts, screwdrivers and hammers, nails and arc-welding machines, electric wires, paints and brushes - you name it.
The Future of Eliava Market – Vendors Waiting for a Specific Decision
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, former republics like Georgia inherited a legacy of dangerous substances held in sub-par storage. Over two decades later, some Georgian communities are still largely in the dark about the potential health risks posed by stockpiles of dangerous pesticides and chemicals. Standing on the main highway overlooking the Iaghluja Mountain, there is no outward indication of what lies under the soil. What is remarkable is the wind; strong gusts of wind that blow the surface dirt off the mountain, down toward nearby villages. Local residents often complain about how strong the wind blows, without realizing what these winds might be blowing into their homes, farms and gardens.
The hidden poisons of Iaghluja Mountain
Four years ago, Salomea Gogeshvili's life radically changed. The mother of two was in a horrible car accident. She survived the crash but the doctors had to amputate her right arm. For weeks she felt like she was falling down a dark abyss. She lost her arm and was quickly succumbing to the fear that, together with her arm, she had lost the ability to raise her children – as well as the physical beauty that defined her as a woman.