By Felicia Carty; Edited by Jeannine d’Entremont-Farrar
Zaza Ivanidze stands before a room full of pupils. He calls out questions and picks out hands. A child goes to the front of the room and is given a honeycomb to hold as Zaza points to different areas. Today’s lesson is on how honey was discovered years ago by hunters.
For 15 years, Zaza has been keeping bees with the help of World Vision. After receiving a loan to scale up his existing small business, Zaza was able to multiply his bees and substantially increase his income.He was only able to make 1,000 Georgian Lari before but now he can make up to 40,000 Lari.
Grateful for this assistance, Zaza decided he wanted to share his knowledge with his community and now teaches beekeeping to children in the village. Classes are three times a week, with 15 children, free of charge. This is the second year of the school, opened in 2015 with help from the local government. World Vision has provided the desks in the school.
Ten-year-old Otari is Zaza’s star pupil. He’s been attending classes for about a year now. “I want to become a beekeeper,” says Otari, who is a sponsored child. “I will have a lot of honey. Some I will eat and some I will sell.”
Asked why he likes honey, Otari explains, “I eat honey in all kinds of ways. I put honey in my tea, with scones, with bread or just eat it with a spoon. Sometimes I put it in my milk.”
Otari is proud that he can help his family with the knowledge he’s gaining. “My family has two beehives. My father looks after the bees. He likes the fact that I come to the school but I decided to come here by myself. I share everything I learn here with my family.”
What is the most important thing a beekeeper must know? “Make sure you feed the bees,” explains Otari. “Feed them a sweet syrup made from sugar and water. If you don’t feed the bees they will die.”
“Beekeeping is the thing I want to do the most,” says Otari. I would like to own a lot of hives. I’d like 100.”
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