Working Tbilisi’s Streets

It was probably the least boring and most touching Second Day of Christmas I’ve ever spent: 26 December 2013 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Two lawyers, a journalist/photographer, and an artist – between us 7 nationalities — took to the streets to meet some extraordinary kids. Extraordinary because of their lust for life, the capacity to flirt with and attract strangers, and their sense of business as well as knowledge of various languages at a very young age. But also extraordinary because of the conditions they are forced to live in.

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Kond: Stepping Back in Time

It's one of my favorite places in Yerevan. It's also one of the poorest. For both reasons, walking through Kond is like stepping back in time. Located in the very heart of the capital it's also as if you've left Yerevan entirely. Indeed, when a National Geographical film crew filming a documentary on Christianity in Armenia said they wanted something 'biblical,' I could only take them to Kond.

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Tuberculosis in Armenia

Once again it's depressing to discover that nothing much changes in countries such as Armenia despite the huge amount of international assistance that has poured into the country since independence was declared in 1991. Despite a reduction in the number of cases reported, Tuberculosis, for example, still remains a serious problem.

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Boarding Schools in Armenia

It’s disappointing when issues I covered 10 years ago remain a problem even today. Earlier this year Armenia Now reported that there still 4,900 children enrolled into Armenia’s Soviet-era, dilapidated boarding schools. That’s a far cry from the 12,000 that were attending when I covered the issue in 2003, but in neighboring Georgia a process of deinstutionalization has reduced the numbers to just a few hundred. It might even be lower now.

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Vardashen Special Educational Complex

More from the archive on children in residential care in Armenia, but this time the Vardashen Special Educational Complex in Yerevan for children with ‘behavioral disorders.’ In 2003, working in cooperation with MSF-France who used some of my photographs for their advocacy campaign in Armenia, I managed to get permission to photograph in Vardashen.

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