To the new leader of Women's Fund in Georgia,
To the Fund's team,
To the Fund's supporters,
Establishing the Women's Fund in Georgia in 2005 was quite a courageous step at that time, and we, me and my allies took it with great enthusiasm. A lot of joy and challenges were expecting us on this long, hard and, at the same time, very encouraging path. The idea that we were holding a bold opportunity that could play a prominent role in the construction of the women's movement in Georgia was our source of inspiration and hope.
I honestly think that this opportunity was taken with great responsibility by the Fund's team, which has grown significantly over these years, not only in quantity, but also in terms of professionalism and competence.
What we as feminists have to say (that we share openly and publicly since the beginning) is still marginalized and controversial in our society. Low acceptance on particular topics affects us too. This is often a painful part of our lives and has dramatically reflected on the process of labor, fight, or building daily relationships.
Who knows how many times we've been heartbroken; how many times we've thought that we're being unjustly criticized because we're asserting something unacceptable; judged and blamed that we're imposing on others the ideas they knew nothing or wanted to know nothing about; even physical force has been used to silence us.
Dealing with rejection and resistance requires a lot of energy, but we did not stop, we did not keep silent. On the contrary, we did our work with even greater effort and today we can loudly say that the voices of feminist activists and women human rights defenders in Georgia is heard more and more strongly, and our Fund together with the grantee partners played significant role in it.
We believe that in the future, we will be even more efficient in relationship with the big society, which consciously or unconsciously needs us for many reasons: to learn or rethink a lot of things, to get more clarity, to hear from others what they could not speak about; to get stronger, to find a space for free action and to breathe easily, to penetrate where they are not yet allowed. When I think about this, I remember the famous words about feminist politics, «Let's start there. Let the movement begin again» (bell hooks). Let's start again, this time with new strength. Let's start without being afraid, because if we have to start again, it means that we have become aware of our mistakes and start living in the present time.
We also believe that changes always start with us - today the Women's Fund in Georgia is moving to a new stage of her life. Today the Fund has a new executive director, with whom our team has already brought many innovations both internally and in relation to our partners. The Fund has clear program directions, has enough financial and human resources to be even more efficient, and has a young, energetic and intelligent leader whose vision and intersectional feminist values will increase the fund's impact on our society.
Congratulations to Salome on this responsible and principled beginning, entering this fast and life-giving river and I deeply believe that at this turning point the new leader together with the Fund’s team will bring many joys and successes to feminist movement in our country.
Many thanks to Salome for this important step which requires courage. Many thanks to our dear employees and the board for their readiness and support and most importantly, many thanks to all friends and supporters of the Fund, whose number is fortunately large, both in Georgia and abroad. We would not be able to do much without you and won't be able in the future as well.
And at the end I would like to announce that as a former leader of the Fund I am happy and lucky that after this change I am not leaving the Fund. I'm given the opportunity to stay with our team and contribute in one direction – to spend more time and energy on feminist residency project. It is really a great privilege for me to have an opportunity to do what I have dreamed of - finishing something that also took a lot of courage to start at the time. I really hope that we will be able to launch the feminist residence soon and make our partners and supporters happy.
With much love,