Mariam Kveliashvili, Kutaisi
‘’I graduated from the Economics faculty, but during the studying process, I discovered that actually, I was interested in a completely different field. My father was an amateur photographer. I remember he had a ‘’Zenit’’ brand camera. He took photos and developed them himself in a small darkened room where my siblings and I were not allowed, but I really wanted to see the process. It was then that I got interested in photography – I too wanted to take pictures. However, when I became a photographer, I chose a digital camera – I don’t have to count how many shots I have left.
I learned photography on my own. I was basically looking for learning resources on the internet. My photograph friends also helped me and shared their experiences. Later I made a blog on WordPress; now that I think, it was mainly for fun, but working on this blog gave me an important thing – I was creating both content and visuals for the posts; it helped me improve. My goal was to learn social media on a professional level.
During this time, I began working as a social media coordinator for the Civic Education and Teacher Training Program. I had to work with pupils and teachers from Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, and Kvemo Svaneti villages. There was a lot of work to do and the salary was minimal, but I enjoyed my job.
The main value of this job was that I had the opportunity to share my knowledge with the people who needed it the most and for those with less access to it. I traveled to highland villages – I conducted training for pupils, teachers, and directors of schools in social media management and video advocacy. I was happy to see how quickly and successfully people started using this knowledge in practice.
In the teaching process, I grew professionally. Along with photography, I learned videography and editing. Now I make video stories myself.
I mastered information technology at a professional level during a free UN Women course.
This opportunity strengthened my self-confidence. I often say that during this time I proved to myself many things – in addition to being on the panel, I also helped trainers professionally.
After completing the UN women training course, I decided to start my own business and started to offer consulting services.
There are 3- and 6-month packages that include setting up social platforms, preparing audio-visual materials, and training for the staff. For the last 3 years, I’ve been working on different segments in Kutaisi, Batumi, and Tbilisi. Tourism, medical facilities, developer companies, real state agencies – this a shortlist of areas where I successfully used my professional knowledge in technology. I invested part of the income in my education again – everything is changing fast and the competition is huge, so, it’s very important to keep up with the newest trends. At this point, I’m making animations as well as teaching video editing and excel.
The pandemic affected my job; it hindered me. It became difficult to find new companies and to start collaborating with them. I decided to use my free time to spread my knowledge. I help everyone who needs help with social media. For example, I helped one teacher who lives in Zestaponi – I set up a WordPress blog and through that, she gained extra points. It’s very nice to be the cause of people’s happiness.
It was really difficult to have been through this path, and I’d love to make it easier for women and girls, and I’ll do my best not to let them go through the same.’’
Author: Maiko Chitaia
Photo: Davit Shvelidze / Geda Darchia
Translation: Mariam Kajrishvili
‘’Mariam Kveliashvili 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.”