13:47, Friday, 19.07.2019
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Ricardo

11.11.2009
Shorena Ghlonti, Ozurgeti

Now he does not have a dog and nine-year-old Ricardo is standing in the street in rain and sun to beg. He stops cars in the street and begs money from the drivers. However, it is difficult to earn money in this way because people rarely stop him in the street now; tourist season has already finished and not many people walk in the streets. Leave it alone, his “occupation” is very dangerous because he begs on the central high-way close to Natanebi village in Ozurgeti district where Ricardo lives and cars drive very fast there. 

Before he had a dog and it was easier for him to earn money. The point is that Ricardo could ride the dog. He had perfect pet: the little boy used to sit on its back and rode it along crowded streets. People, being surprised with the sight, used to give money to little Ricardo.

Ricardo could feed not only himself but his mother Piodora Makhaeva with the money he earned by riding the dog. His mother is physically disabled person and cannot move. Ricardo was too little when he realized that he was only person who could help his mother.

“When Ricardo had the dog, he used to earn 10 lari a day; we could buy food, bread and toys with the money,” recalled 45-year-old Piodora Mikhaeva, the mother.

     

“My neighbor taught me how to ride the dog. I used to ride my dog in the street everyday and earned money. Now it is hard for me because my bread-winner died,” said Ricardo.

Ricardo Mikhaev lives in poorest conditions in the village of Natanebi in Ozurgeti district together with his mother. Their house is damaged with broken windows and door; the house does not have roof and floor; when it rains outside it is raining in the house too. At the end of autumn it is as cold in the house as in winter.

“We live in poverty. They promise us to help but years have passed in expectation. My son has grown up and he needs more; we live on the god’s mercy only,” said Piodora Mikhaeva.

The monthly income of the family is 95 GEL and this money is spent on medicines.

     

“Winter is approaching now and we have neither blanket nor fire-wood… I am walking round the yard with the support of the walking-stick and collect branches. Even if I had an electro-stove, I would not be able to use it because we will not afford to pay bills,” complained the mother of Ricardo.

“When I saw Ricardo’s house I understood what is poverty,” said employee of the Union of Young Teachers Levan Mzhavanadze.

“Every child has right to be socially protected and state shall take all necessary measures to ensure this right,” the strategy of the poverty reduction among children does not work for Ricardo.

Ricardo is not registered in the data base of socially disabled families because he does not have birth certificate. Because of this problem Ricardo could not go to school for three years. Finally, he was allowed to attend lessons though if he cannot resolve problem of the birth certificate soon, he will have to quit education.

     

Ricardo’s mother is disabled and cannot move; so she cannot get birth certificate though because of the document the family loses chance of getting social allowance too.

“There might be a special agency which will resolve similar problems for people like me,” said Mikhaeva.

Representatives of the Ozurgeti district office of the Young Lawyers Association said that in accordance to the Article 24 – “f” of the Law on Civil Act Registration, a public official of the executive body of the local authority shall apply for birth certificate if the people mentioned in the paragraphs “a”, “b”, “c” and “e” of the same article have not applied for the birth certificate and the local authority has information about it.

 “If the village governor does not have information about this family, it is his fault”, said lawyer Jaba Zerekidze.

Representatives of the Natanebi village to the municipality board Temur Kinkladze apparently does not know the law and tries to defend rights of  the village governor: ”The school director shall make birth certificate for Ricardo and not the village governor”, he says.

     

“Population and particularly disabled people need the government to solve their problems. If the government does not care about disabled and poor people, then we do not need the government with its structure”, said the expert Levan Chkhaidze.

“The expenses for the reconstruction of the house are already calculated; we have looked for building materials too and 2 rooms will be repaired in nearest future”, said Lela Tavartkliadze, the deputy governor of Guria region.

“For the purpose we established an initiative group because we had short funds in local budget; the group has already found sponsors and will observe repair activities in Ricardo’s house. We already brought windows, but after reconstruction we will bring TV-set, beds and other necessary furniture too”, added vice-governor.

Giorgi Takidze, Ozurgeti district deputy governor, said that money has not been allocated from the local budget yet. However, the government is committed to resolve Rikardo’s problems and will use all budget sources to assist the family.

“The prior goal of the government is to resolve similar problems. Today we face concrete case: - the problem exists, but there is nobody to eradicate it”, said Levan Chkhaidze.

     

Ricardo expects government officials to keep their promises; now he dreams about warm room and dinner. He knows that in winter it will be difficult for him to earn money.

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