Ana Titmeria, 34 years old, Zugdidi
“I was always good at math and I knew when I was in school that I wanted to study computer technologies. When I told my math teacher that I was going to study computer science, she wasn’t surprised, in the opposite – she was very happy to hear that and always helped me. I enrolled in the informatics faculty at the Sokhumi State University and got a bachelor’s degree, but I expected to receive better knowledge at the university, and, for example, learn more about algorithms. In fact, one year is enough to study any field completely and train for a specific profession, but the education system back then only gave you general education. Imagine, I was studying informatics and I didn’t have a computer at home, so I went to internet cafes where I had to pay hourly and it was impossible to develop myself further there.
After graduating, I worked as a tutor – I trained pupils in math, but I never stopped improving my technology skills, I didn’t miss a chance and always attended various kinds of training, where I learned a lot. Technologies are developing so fast that I can never say that I’m finished developing in this field.
Among all training I’ve gone through over the years, so far the most productive was the training by UN Women. I remember exactly, how I filled out the application at the last minute and sent it at 4 AM. To be honest, at that time I didn’t have high expectations that I would get some special kind of knowledge there, but in a very short time, I learned exactly what I needed. This course turned out to be very successful for me because I can say that it brought me back to the profession that I couldn’t learn at the university. Out of 124 selected women within the program, I got into the top 40 and with this program, I passed an internship in the Georgian logistics company „STYX” in the field of social media marketing and web programming.
At the end of the training, the most important thing was that we, participants from Samegrelo, formed a team and we work on various private contracts. We have created websites for several local entrepreneurs where they can sell their products. I can’t say that my income depends solely on this, but I can work with my team on private projects and I can earn additional income.
I have never met resistance from my family members because of my interests. On the opposite, everyone supported me when I decided to study computer science, and later, when I was trying to improve in this field, I had support from my husband’s family as well. My biggest supporter was my mother-in-law, who helped me with everything. Therefore, I often mention that it’s important for women to support each other. However, there are stereotypes in society that technologies aren’t for women. Years ago, one vacancy appeared at one of the banks – they needed a technical supervisor. When I went to the interview and they saw a girl, they were shocked. They couldn’t believe that a woman could work in this position. In the end, of course, I didn’t get the job. Such circumstances gave me more motivation and right after that, I went through a lot of trainings.
By the way, my mother-in-law taught me how to sew and I turned my hobby into a business – in 2017, “Enterprise Georgia” financed us and I bought sewing machines. When I started producing home textiles, I soon realized that social media played an important role in increasing sales, and additionally, if you have a website, you can cover not only your city but the region and even the whole country. After these trainings, I created my own business website and set up a Facebook page as well. As a result, my sales increased by 30%, which means a lot for a small business. I strive to and I try my best to share my knowledge with women and young people to let them use it for growing in the social media area and growing their family businesses. By the way, I made a web page for one of my neighbors, who owns a clothing store, and as she says, it saved her business.
These trainings made me more self-confident – 34 years doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s too late to learn something new. I have more interests and motivation to deepen my knowledge in various fields and to study in a vocational school of web-design.’’
Author: Ida Bakhturidze
Photographer: Irakli Gamsakhurdia / Geda Darchia
Translation: Mariam Kajrishvili
‘’Ana Titmeria was one of the 124 participants in the women’s web development and social media marketing training program in 2019. The training program was part of the UN Women project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia” funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. The views expressed in the story are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations.”