Ilia aged 21, and his family exemplify the resilience of the Georgian people. Having fled Eredvi when he was 13, Ilia grew up in the Koda IDP settlement with his family. He studied English at the Koda Community Education Center, and was hired as staff within a few years. That’s where he heard about the Livelihood Development for Kvemo Kartli IDPs (LDKK) program.
Although Ilia was in his final semester of university studying International Law and working fulltime at the Center, he still wanted to do more to challenge himself. Realizing the lack of – and demand for – quality coffee in Koda, he enrolled in the LDKK program, and successfully competed for a business grant to start his own coffee distribution company. Through LDKK, Ilia received a coffee grinder.
Now Ilia and his mother, Nino, work together to have the roasted coffee beans delivered, and grind, package and sell them. They have individual customers, but also sell in the local stores. Ilia and Nino have plans to open their own storefront so customers can buy the packaged coffee or have a custom grind.
In less than a month, they were doing a steady business selling about 5 kilos of coffee weekly. Profits from the business help the family to purchase food staples like bread and sugar, and bring a sense of satisfaction to the family. Inspired by his success, Ilia is already planning to start more small business projects in his community. His best advice for others? “Never give up, do your best and try everything.” The true Georgian spirit.
The projects are implemented by RDFG with financial support from the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia. Technical support of the projects is provided by the IDP Livelihood Agency. The project ran from June 2016 to November 30, 2016.