In Georgia, sisters turn a lifelong passion into livelihood

Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017

“Oladi” (a type of pancake) is one of the most popular pastries in Georgia. It requires little time to prepare and is very tasty, which is why almost every family makes it quite often. The Kvitia sisters, Nona and Nana have been baking oladis since childhood. Later on, baking them became their first source of income.

Inga Chokoraia (to the left) in a meeting about social mobilization of vulnerable groups of IDPs, organized by UN Women's partner organization the TASO Foundation. Photo: the TASO Foundation
Inga Chokoraia (to the left) in a meeting about social mobilization of vulnerable groups of IDPs, organized by UN Women's partner organization the TASO Foundation. Photo: the TASO Foundation

In 1992, due to the armed conflict in Abkhazia, the Kvitia sisters, aged 11 and 9 at the time, had to leave their home and move from Ochamchire district to the village of Ingiri in western Georgia. They found shelter with their cousin Inga Chokoraia, whose home was shared with many other relatives displaced from Abkhazia. Facing financial hardships, the three cousins came up with the idea of baking and selling oladis.

“We were too young, but we started up our business out of necessity,” recalls Nona Kvitia. “First we left the baked goods with our acquaintances to sell in the marketplace. We were avoiding people and did not want to be seen. Eventually, we realized that the oladis were very popular. We became famous, and started selling to shops. After some time, we got active in other fields of work but would always go back to baking when we needed to.”

Today, thanks to a joint UN Women and FAO project funded by the European Union, the sisters are supporting their children on their own, and together  with their cousin, are taking on an exciting new challenge: Opening a bakery, to turn what they started years ago into a profitable business.

Read the full story on the UN Women website for Georgia