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Sad Holiday of Juveniles

January 18, 2008
Twenty-six juveniles live in this establishment. All of them have sad background like old people; but have the same dreams as their palls. They celebrated New Year and Christmas modestly and tried to be as happy as possible. Now they are getting ready for the Epiphany. However they cannot visit their godparents or godchildren on January 19. The discipline is the most important here-they are beneficiaries of the Special School for Juvenile.

Samtredia Special School of the Ministry of Education is a place where children have their own world that is too different from the surrounding environment. Everyone, who visits the school, will find himself/herself into that world and the feelings are getting sadder. Although juveniles speak about various crimes they have committed, you cannot treat any of them as a criminal. Everybody can notice that they have improved.

“I beat my neighbor, stole his money and ran away. Then I was arrested and brought here…”

“I was accused for rape. I did not try to deny what I had done; I confessed everything…”

“I left my family and did very bad thing. Now those days are like nightmare for me and want to forget everything,” these are confessions of the boys who are always ready to retell their stories.

“I do not like to speak about it. When I remember how badly I behaved I feel shameful for that; it was not man’s behavor,” said twelve-year-old Giorgi and does not keep in secret that he learned how to live properly and lead “manly’ life from Gia Meishvili. Meishvili is the director of the Special School and is a friend of the juveniles.

Gia Meishvili was appointed as a director of the Samtredia Special School two years ago; he removed the gate of the school. He also removed barbed wire from the fence; and consequently all kind of barriers between tutors and beneficiaries disappeared. “We are friends. We share our ideas with each other. In the past the situation was different. Boys were bad-tempered. Then we made up friends with each other. Once they slipped away from the school and I was looking for them all day long; finally I found them. I asked the boys why they had done similar thing to me who considered them to be the closest friends and made toasts to their future at parties; who was proud of them. And do you know what they answered? The boys told me they were going to return in the evening; they simply were curious about my reaction; whether I would remain their friend again their friend or would I punish them,” recalled Gia Meishvili.

Although the boys have difficult childhood, they are in a happy mood because of the holidays. They believe that the New Year will change their lives for better and happier. When they get fourteen years old, that is the estimated age-limit for the Special School’s beneficiaries; the juveniles have to go back to their life outside and will do their best to lead “manly life.”

“I will get married and have children; I will teach my children not to steal and live manly life. They should be satisfied what they will have. I will study some trade and earn my living. Sometimes I will come here and see my older friends,” said Giga who is only eleven but looks like an old man.

The Samtredia Special School is the only establishment in Georgia where juveniles between the ages of 11 and 14 are supervised. They have been brought here from various regions of Georgia and now live in one big family. They learn Georgian history, computer programs and the Rights of the Child. They have free time and spend it as much interesting as they can. They play football, chess and sometimes pretend to be grown-ups. They put on large shoes, put on military hats and turn into soldiers.

Georgian boys are dreaming of protecting the border of their homeland.

Shorena Kakbadze, Kutaisi