By Kat Lipson, Grant Programs Director

Nino Jibuti, a Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Student from the Republic Georgia, who lived in Nampa, ID during the 2010-11 academic year, has been awarded a $1000 Grant to execute a service project that focuses on helping the youth in the capital city of Tbilisi that are living in orphanages.  Nino recognizes that youth living in these conditions experience low self-confidence and lack of awareness about opportunities for their future, which prevent them from succeeding in life.  She sites that 85% of teenagers who spend their whole life living in an orphanage will remain unemployed. Her project, “Seeds of the Future”, will give 15-20 orphans, from 4 orphanages in Tbilisi, Georgia, a chance to discover new opportunities, and help them plan for their future career.  Nino will be organizing a 3 day workshop focused around academic and professional development, improvement of personal skills and civic education.

“During my exchange year in America, as part of my volunteering service, I was involved with Nampa Mayor’s Teen Council and a member of Adoption Committee, where we helped hundreds of orphans to start life from scratch and put them in families, who were responsible for their safety and successful future, the project has been going for 6 years and been very successful,” Nino explained. “Families who adopted orphans helped them to find jobs, offered opportunities and this friendly, warm environment helped them to become part of our society. I am inspired by the experience I had in America and ready to make a contribution and help Georgian orphans to rationally plan for their future.”

Over the next month Nino will be reaching out to orphanages in the area to help select participants for the workshop.  The 3 day event will cover a variety of topics including: Choosing the Right Career, Child and Law, and Scholarships Opportunities.  Nino explains that after the workshop concludes she is going to continue communicating with participants and is arranging for other FLEX Alumnus to be mentors, who will regularly check-in with the orphans and ask about their progress.  These mentors and their mentees will stay in touch via social media websites, and continue to work together to help improve the future of these Georgian orphans.

CCI Greenheart is so thrilled to know that Nino’s experience during her exchange year has created a lifelong commitment to helping serve the orphan population in Georgia.  We applaud her for her dedication and look forward to seeing her project come to fruition!