Ia Tavdishvili, 31 years old, village Gurianta, Ozurgeti municipality
‘’I live in the village Gurianta with my husband and three children. I got married very young when I was 18, but I was lucky to have a great family. During the first 7-8 years, I was sitting at home and raised my children, but when they grew up, I wanted to have my own job and be busy with my own business. I learned to sew from my mother, sat in front of the sewing machine and it turned out that I was really good at it. In two-three months, I had already opened my atelier and now I joke that I first opened an atelier and only later learned to sew – I was still learning. I opened an atelier in Ozurgeti and choose to produce childrens’ clothes. Sewing covers many areas and I wanted to be a professional in one particular area. I still only sew children’s clothes and it works very well. In this process, I met one girl, Ana Maslova, who sent me the registration link to a social media and programming training and told me, maybe it could be interesting for me or helpful for my business. I’m very grateful to her because I would never be able to find this information by myself – I was sitting day and night by the sewing machine, cutting, and sewing. I filled out the registration form, sent it and I was rejected. Of course, I felt sad, but I thought it wasn’t my destiny. In a few days, the project trainer, Khatuna Rusishvili, called me and told me that one of the participants couldn’t attend and as it turned out, I was in the reserve group and if I would still like, I could join them. I was cutting a dress and, out of the joy, I dropped the scissors and I said – of course, I’d love to come! I talked to my husband and he always has such an attitude that “if you want to do something, do it, I’ll be by your side’’.
I had to attend training for four months, including in Tbilisi. I temporarily set my scissors aside and started the new job. If I do something, I always put my whole heart into it, and here too, I was involved with all my strength and motivation. During that period I had taken some orders and my mother helped me – she put the patterns and my girls from the atelier were sewing. The children were left with my husband and father-in-law. My computer was broken and my husband brought me a new one, handed it over to me, and he himself took care of the children. Then, when I came from the atelier and sat down to study, he would tell the children not to disturb me.
The learning process was very interesting. I wanted to study all the time. Before that, I didn’t even know how to create a Facebook page; I had a personal account, which I used for a business page as well. First of all, the best thing I did for my business was to make a page – I learned to advertise, set up the answering machine for questions, learned how to adjust settings, and so on. At first, I was a little scared of how I would do it, but I did it, I started and didn’t get up until four in the morning, I sat at the computer, and in the morning I already had my business page. Ozurgeti had a really amazing team, the girls helped each other, we didn’t sleep at night, and we were always online on our chat. We also found and did things that we hadn’t learned.
After the training, miracles start to happen – we knew that after the training, we had to get certificates, and they gave us an opportunity for an internship as well. I was among the forty best participants who did an internship in very successful companies. I got an internship at Lingwing, which is a very innovative and promising company with an amazing team. I did an internship in the field of social media. When the internship was over, I thanked them and said that I felt really sorry to say goodbye. ”You don’t have to say goodbye, stay with us!” – They said. I couldn’t imagine this would happen, usually, companies prefer to have an employee on-site, but for more than a year now, I’ve been working here.
After the internship, we were told that top three participants would go to a web summit in Lisbon. It was the largest technology summit attended by IT representatives from different companies from all over the world. I got into these top three and I achieved this on my own, my hard work was appreciated. We spent amazing eight days in Lisbon, we visited lots of great places – we saw the technology museum, the latest inventions… we traveled to every part of the city. We used every opportunity that could be used, we gained connections, knowledge. I also attended the workshop by Anna Vainer – ‘’I am remarkable’’. I liked this workshop so much that when I came back, I went through the online training and became a facilitator. When I came from Lisbon, I helped a lot of people. This is the coolest thing – when you learn something and then share, help, and teach others, it makes you happy. All this made me grow, I started in technologies from scratch, and today I already know a lot and I have to learn so much more… This is an inexhaustible topic. Since I did my business page, my income has tripled; before that, I took orders only in Ozurgeti, but now I already get orders from many different regions.
I haven’t felt stereotypical attitudes from anyone, but I heard something like this – one of the very talented girls wasn’t able to attend the training because her husband didn’t let her. when remembering this, it breaks my heart. Once another participant drove her home and she didn’t let him drop off in front of her home to avoid making her husband jealous. Finally, he made her quit training and I always think that maybe that girl could have done more than me and others and she couldn’t use her talent.
At some time, I had a complex because I didn’t graduate from university and I didn’t have a diploma. Then I realized that this paper means nothing. The most important thing is to always want to develop yourself. When you find yourself in a field that you couldn’t even imagine before, there’s such happiness. I advise girls not to give up; if they don’t succeed, they should try one more time. If they think that this is what they need and want, they should do everything to achieve that goal.’’
Author: Nino Gamisonia
Photo: Rezo Kvachadze / Geda Darchia
Translation: Mariam Kajrishvili
‘’Ia Tavdishvili 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.”