For many children living in Georgia’s orphanages, the future is bleak. Without the resources to teach orphans the basic rules that will help them participate more fully in society, many of these children face a life of poverty, lost opportunities and even crime once they are released at the age of18. But with the help of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s Street Law Program, Law students from Tbilisi State University are hoping to change that.
Daji Avaliani, a Tbilisi State University law student who recently completed her first year in the Street Law Program, came up with the idea to bring Street Law to these high risk children. Other law students liked her idea,realizing the impact this training and attention would have on orphans marginalized by society.
To test this idea, ABA ROLI ran a pilot Street Law Training in Bakuriani on December 18–21. To prepare for the training, law students worked closely with ABA ROLI to develop a new Street Law curriculum while program staff in Tbilisi contacted local orphanages and gauge their interest. In September 2007, ABAROLI representatives met with Nana Iashvili, director of an NGO called Child and Environment (www.childandenvironment.org.ge),which works with orphans and socially vulnerable children in Tbilisi, as well as in the Imereti and Shida Kartli regions of Georgia. After several meetings, the trainers were able to tailor the existing curriculum to the children’s needs, allowing ABA ROLI to run the pilot.
Sixteen students attended the pilot course from the Tbilisi and Chiatura centers of the organization. Over the three days, they completed a full semester Street Law program, which included sessions on law and legal systems, human rights, criminal law, juvenile rights, and peaceful dispute resolution. At the end of the training, the trainers worked with the students on program evaluation and solicited their ideas about the curriculum. Based on the pilot program experience, the trainers will modify the curriculum and begin teaching in April 2008.
For more information, contact Georgia Senior Legal Advisor Nino Khurtsidze,<[email protected]>.