When one travels at home and abroad, it is hard not to be affected by the struggles that we witness. Yet, with a few exceptions (Surviving in the Philippines and Mississippi Delta), I typically choose not to share images that highlight the depth of those challenges. However, I think that from time to time, a reminder of how lucky some of us are is needed. Well, I know I need it.
This blog post focuses on a settlement of families in Tbilisi, Georgia, which are referred to as “socially vulnerable”. This is the label used by social services to describe families that are gravely economically challenged, and are struggling for daily survival. The children in this community are often “off-the-grid”, meaning they have no official papers; no birth certificate or other proof of citizenship (or existence, for that matter), which implies no access to school or social services. Without intervention, the most likely outcome for these children is that they will work in the street either begging, panhandling or worse.
When we reached this settlement, we met Nazi, a 9 year-old who did not have a birth certificate until the day we left. When we asked her to show us around, she quickly agreed and said: “We live in nature, it is beautiful here, it is paradise.”
Below are a few images of Nazi’s paradise (she appears in the first image). Also, here is a link (My Paradise) to a slideshow that includes these images and more. Have a look (and turn up the volume ;-))
Nazi, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have given me.
P.S. You can follow me on Instagram at franceleclerc