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At his first stop in Kutaisi, Ambassador Hartzell met with representatives of the Education and Development Center (EDEC) and Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, two organisations that work together closely with the EU to contribute towards a more inclusive society in Georgia. The visit took place at a building focusing on care and education for children with special needs, which also houses the social enterprise "Parshavangi".
On Saturday, 8 June, the Ambassador visited the company Madera Georgia, member of the EU-supported Georgian Furniture Cluster and producer of furniture with 12 years' experience in wood processing. Besides being a successful exporter to the EU, the company is also active on employing young people with disabilities and members of other vulnerable groups. During the visit, Ambassador Hartzell also met with a group of young entrepreneurs who recently completed an EU-supported training on entrepreneurship.
Moving on to Tskaltubo, Ambassador Hartzell attended the launch event of the new rural development project "Local Action Group Tskaltubo", which is implemented by People in Need and co-funded by the Czech Development Agency. The project introduces a bottom-up approach to rural development in Tskaltubo municipality, empowering local people to set the course for their communities.
Finally, the Ambassador opened the Europe Day celebrations in Tskaltubo together with Grigol Ioseliani, Mayor of Tskaltubo, Paata Akhaladze, Acting Head of Sakrebulo, Tsotne Zurabiani, Member of Parliament, Ioseb Khakhaleishvili, Deputy Governor of Imereti and Dimitri Mkheidze, Member of Parliament. He furthermore awarded the winners of the essay competition "I am European", organized by the regional office of the EU-NATO Information Center.
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