7 min.

A kindergarten for a house

Author: Guram Saqvarelidze


08.10.21

IDP children and their parents tell the story of years of isolation, survival and endless struggles. How has the pandemic influenced families who have been living in collective settlements since the 1990s?

Every second IDP lives in a compact settlement. During the pandemic, they found it particularly difficult to comply with the government’s main request - stay home and keep a social distance. Thousands of IDP’s still do not have access to water, making it hard for them to protect sanitary norms. They say their isolation started back in the 90s and still continues today. 

In abandoned school buildings, hotels, and kindergartens, IDP’s began searching for a new home and identity at the same time. Meanwhile, a new generation has emerged. 

A kindergarten for a house observes the impact of the COVID pandemic on the collective settlement in the Gldani district, far from the city center. Families who were forced to move from Abkhazia have been living there for 28 years.

For the author of the video, Guram Sakvarelidze, the isolation caused by the pandemic and the life of IDPs look very much alike. He believes that society forced these people to be in isolation and to keep social distancing back in the 90s. 

Furthermore, “Georgian society made recommendations for isolation, indifference toward the tragedy. There are various types of perceptions of IDPs in the country. Sometimes we experience a temporary feeling of pity and immense sadness for them. Manifested through jokes, aggressive remarks, and toasts, we can also witness offensive, cynical attitudes towards IDPs. It all resembles a defense mechanism, an abstract mask that is clearly expressed in our daily life. Many IDPs remain as the “other” for the Georgian citizens. 

We are still following the informal recommendation for social distancing. Thousands of IDPs live in abandoned buildings and are poorly integrated into the communities around them. In some cases, their living spaces fail to meet basic sanitary norms. Their settlements are often overcrowded, which increases the risks of the spread of infectious diseases.  Such conditions also create an emotionally stressful environment for living.”