Working Lives Georgia

Working Lives Georgia: War refugee

In 2008, thousands of Georgians were forced to flee their homes in South Ossetia, the disputed territory where Georgia's war with Russia was fought. One of those was Iza Mikhanashvili, now working as a baker on the outskirts of the capital Tbilisi.

She is up at six every morning to light the stove in the bakery where she works.

Georgia Direct graphic

But she didn't choose this profession.

After fleeing South Ossetia, she, her husband and four children were relocated to temporary housing outside Tbilisi, with the promise it would not be for long.

Five years on, they are still there.

Iza, who has a background in engineering, had to give up her job at a textile factory when war broke out.

Although her family receives 90 dollars a month in benefits she is forced to bake bread to bring in enough income to support her family.

As the wood fire begins to heat up inside the cramped bakery her eyes water .

The temperature in the room soon becomes unbearably hot.

After baking for a whole day she's happy to go home, back to the two-bedroom house she's been given by the government. Inside there's a small kitchen and running water.

She also has a small garden where she likes to grow vegetables.

Iza says her new home doesn't compare to the one they had to leave behind.

"We feel forgotten here," she says. "Even if we ask for help we don't get it."

She speaks not only for herself but for the 19,000 other Georgians still living in similar conditions.


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