Ready for independent life

Sergo is a good looking, black haired, blue eyed and athletic guy with a warm sad smile but has a strong and self-confident spirit. The sadness that sometimes shadows his young face speaks volumes about his past difficult life. Yet he is a person with strong personality, determination, confidence and hope for future. Sergo’s positive attitude towards life is unmatched with most of his peer group, in particular those from big institutions. World Vision Georgia learners for life project (LFL) undoubtedly contributed to helping Sergo become the determined, skilled and confident youth who is now putting all the theory he learned into practice.

The Learners for life project serves hundreds of socially vulnerable and aging out youth from the institutions to provide them with vocational training and life skills to improve their prospects in life. Family based small group homes financed by World Vision Germany, Austria and the European Union helps these children to learn day to day skills to serve them in everyday life as well as to gain relevant skills to succeed.

Before joining the project, Sergo had spent many years in a childhood of profound misery . Beaten up by his mother, often under the influence of alcohol, he used to escape in the streets and feared coming back to avoid further conflicts with his mother. That is how he became a street child. Later, he was taken in by an institution. Years passed. Once he heard about the death of his mother and realized that he had nowhere to go.

"Sometimes I used to wish I could escape from the institution and find other ways to live, but had no better option than living on the street," said Sergo sadly.

Generally, children have to leave institutions at the age of 18. They leave schools with little practical skills or family support because young people are not able to cope with life beyond institutions.

Luckily Sergo soon met one of the Learners For Life project social worker in the institution who offered him to move in the small group home and run vocational trainings to prepare for independent life. Some learners for life project social workers are based in institutions so that they can closely contact with children and assist them with learn their problems. Initially, Sergo doubted why these people would do so much for him but then decided to seize the chance.

That’s how Sergo for the first time experienced a family living environment, made possible by the small group homes initiative of Learners For Life project.

The opportunity to live in a small group home has made Sergo an ‘elder brother’ to three girls also institution graduates. In addition, LFL has facilitated an internship placement for him in one of Batumi city furniture factory. Sergo has a passion and is very good at woodwork.

"Living in small group home showed me the importance of family life while being here helped me to concentrate on learning and training to become more independent," says Sergo.

Demonstrating hard working nature, diligence and practical life skills, Sergo was chosen for a presidential employment program that offers motivated and competent youth employment opportunities and farther self development. Currently Sergo is employed by one of the strongest companies in Batumi that works for the city building and rehabilitation.

Becoming financially independent, Sergo decided to move from small group home and built his life independently using the skills and lifetime experience he has gained from the family at small group home.

Soon his place will be taken by new beneficiary, the new victory of World Vision Learners For Life project.