Humans of Tserakvi

We are all human beings. It doesn’t matter where we live or what we do in our lives, we are surrounded by the equals that we are. We are in a constant process of sharing, learning, discovering and living. That is why we should know about each other and never forget where we come from. We should not distance ourselves from each other, but rather learn more about each other. These thoughts were the reasons why two volunteers of the European Voluntary Service decided to carry out a project about the inhabitants of a small unknown village somewhere in the south-west of Georgia. A project in which the people who live there are shown. A life almost completely without all the comforts we have, but with an infinite kindness in their hearts. The name of the project was not long in coming, it was clear – Humans of Tserakvi.

Tserakvi is located near the Georgian / Armenian / Azerbaijan border. Population of the village ranges between 50 – 200 people, mostly they are pensioners. Because of the cold winter and complicated conditions, at this time of the year people must leave the village to the relative’s places in towns. Here is no any single pharmacy or grocery shop, big problems with the water and heating, total unemployment and just 1 bus per day that connects the village with the bigger town.

The aim of the project is to show the true face of Georgia’s remote places. Many Georgian villages are struggling to survive and Tserakvi is one of them. This village is not mentioned in tourist guides and even many Georgians do not know where it is. The people here have no work, they live in difficult conditions – mostly without water and street lighting – and all they have left is hope and endless landscapes. In this project, Tserakvi stands as a general symbol of the people of Georgia in the forgotten villages.

The project consists of two parts: Video and photo. The video shows the situation in the village from a documentary point of view. It makes it possible to meet the main characters and get in touch with their personality, to face the living conditions of the people and to learn about the “One Caucasus Festival”, which enriches the life in Tserakvi and gives some hope to the village. The pictures show the majestic beauty of the landscape and allow us to look into the soul of the main characters.

One Caucasus Festival is an international festival and long-term programme in the borderlands to create an inspiring and safe place where young people from the Caucasus can meet. The festival aims to promote friendships between nations, exchange, music, global and local society and freedom to be oneself. For three days, people from all over the world come to Tserakvi to share music, thoughts, knowledge, skills and everything else possible. We thought this was a very cool idea, as such events are extremely important for society, especially in such small villages like Tserakvi.

Humans of Tserakvi was done in August-September 2015 in Georgia by journalists/photographers Anna Perepechai (Ukraine) and Iwa Pawlak (Poland). The project was done in frames of EVS, in which authors were involved in 2014-2015 while working with German cultural organization Kultur Aktiv.

Humans of Tserakvi was realized with the support of  STEP Beyond Travel Grant / European Cultural Foundation. Authors are also very thankful for the support to Kultur AktivFundacja Inna Przestrzeń and One Caucasus Festival team.