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The Ukraine Fundraiser and the People Behind It

Last Friday, on March 4th, our schoolmates conducted a fundraiser to contribute to Ukraine. Participants came with all sorts of baked goods, handmade jewelry, posters, etc. Even people from different schools attended and made their benefactions. The Gazette decided to interview some of the organizers of the event to get the details of the planning process, goals, and motivations.

Lizzie Melashvili, an 11th grader at GZAAT, started by describing the planning process for the fundraiser: “The day when all of this started to happen, when we started seeing everything on social media, we were very affected. Right after classes, we already started thinking about donating to charities and organizations ourselves but we wanted to do something bigger. Before the idea was even fully developed, we had already emailed Mr. Cruz and had a meeting with him the next day. Mr. Cruz was extremely supportive of the idea and offered us help. That really motivated us. Considering we hadn’t done a charity in a while, it didn’t seem real at the moment. Charity events at school were always associated with really positive memories so we thought it was a great idea, and getting Cruz’s support only motivated us more. It all started with us simply wanting to help.” Lizzie also talked about the pressure of organizing this sort of event as a teenager: “This was a new experience because I don’t think we’ve ever been in charge of something this big. Being younger, we looked at this completely differently. Seeing older kids always doing these charities was always such a huge part of our memories and actually participating in something like this definitely gave us a new perspective.”

Kato Ambokadze, another Junior, added another reason why she was so determined to organize this fundraiser: “Our first reaction was to donate to charities but there was a concern that many of the donation links and charities that have been going around are not valid and are scams. I think doing a fundraiser with our own initiative and ensuring that the money we collect will go to credible charities was one of the main reasons for actually doing this event.”

A fellow organizer, Keti Jabishvili, explained why they chose as their charity: “it is a charity for the military, hospitals, and warehouses in Ukraine. Especially with the military, we know that there is an inequality between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces which is the main reason why we chose a charity that cared for that.”

Lizzie further commented on The political situation in Georgia: “ How things have been developing in our country and how our government has decided to ‘help out’ angered us. Even the smallest things can really help in this kind of situation, it’s hard to say that but you get this feeling of ‘why isn’t my government doing this? Why don’t we do it!’ and that’s exactly what I started to feel when I realized that our administration isn’t doing anything.” Keti also gave her take on this. “I remember discussing this in our group chat and being furious about the government. We were thinking of a million different ways of how we could contribute. Our motivation came from anger and injustice. All we wanted to do was to take the matter into our own hands and make a small yet valuable contribution.”

As for their goals, “Our big goal was to gather the biggest sum of money we could and spread as much information as possible” explained Kato. “And a really interesting part about this is seeing all of us come together and organize something like this in such a short amount of time. All of this is really heartfelt and coming from a place of empathy,” said Lizzie.

All of our interviewees try to support Ukraine in every way they can think of, but they mention the hardships they face as young people who seemingly don’t have power over anything. “We are very limited in the things we can do. We are still so young so this charity is our best option.” summarized Kato.

The fundraiser was successful, collecting over 7200 GEL. So lastly, a big thanks to Keti Jabishvili, Ketu Gugushvili, Kato Ambokadze, Marisha Machavariani, Elene Karazanishvili, Nicole Tavadze, Natuka Nibladze, Lizzie Tsitsishvili, Lizzie Melashvili, Nanuka Sturua, Nita Karkashadze, and Mari Tsulukidze, the fantastic people who organized this event.

Photos by Tasia Kurdghelia

Edited by Mariam Begiashvili

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