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Social Slow Food: Regional product as a chance for sustainable social and vocational activation of the disabled and socially disfranchised

The project is addressed to TEMI – an NGO in Gremi in the Kakheti region of Georgia – that engages people with mental disabilities in work and social life, as well as people from disadvantaged groups who are residents of the centre run by TEMI. These people are physically or mentally handicapped, orphans, children with only one parent, single mothers, the elderly, refugees, displaced persons, the homeless and the unemployed.

The TEMI centre is struggling with continuous financial instability due to insufficient subsidies from the Georgian government. The centre has potential (buildings, vineyards, an organic farm, a joinery) that may help in acquiring additional funds for running the centre. TEMI is developing local production but uses it mainly for its own needs due to the lack of processing equipment and skills for using it effectively to market its products. An opportunity is seen in supplying the centre with essential production equipment and in conducting educational activities in the field of social economy.

Social Slow Food: Regional product as a chance for sustainable social and vocational activation of the disabled and socially disfranchised

The project was implemented from February to December 2014 in Gremi, Georgia. The project implementing entity was the Pluznica Gmina Development Association, and the local partner was the TEMI Charitable Union centre from Gremi. The main project task was to supply the TEMI centre with processing equipment and to promote local products. The project beneficiaries were residents of the TEMI centre (53 people) from disadvantaged groups and the centre’s staff (22 people), including specialists who took part in workshops and training.

The project was aimed at increasing of the engagement of residents in work and social life, and it also led to the development of a model for improving the financial stability of the TEMI centre. This was helped with the development and implementation of five marketing strategies and five production cycles enabling the centre’s wards to manufacture high-quality products that will find buyers throughout all of Georgia. The centre’s staff was trained, in accordance with the work performed in the centre, in how to develop social entrepreneurship and in modern rehabilitation techniques.

The project serves to implement the “support for socially disadvantaged groups” and “occupational and social engagement” priorities.

Social Slow Food: Regional product as a chance for sustainable social and vocational activation of the disabled and socially disfranchised

Thanks to this project, production cycles were developed and implemented that enabled the beneficiaries to manufacture high-quality products. Marketing strategies were worked out to raise the market value of the manufactured goods, adjust products for the market and increase sales.

Trainers were trained in the development of social entrepreneurship, local products and rehabilitation methods. At the same time, communication was successfully established between disadvantaged groups and society, particularly at the local scale, reducing the isolation of socially excluded individuals.