When I finished my bachelor’s degree in Law I started working in georgia for a local NGO, I realized after a year that it wasn’t for me: grant hunting for the sake of grant hunting. I felt NGOs just worked to get grants, rather than working on what they once were founded for, loosing their initial goals and aims out of sight. After that I worked at the European and Dutch parliament, and a similar feeling creeped over me: reading boring reports, trying to write up an advice, but not feeling actual change occurred.
I continued writing my blog, picked up some journalism gigs and studied russian in Ukraine, after which i decided to go for an MA degree in politics in Sweden. I kept on writing, but still didn’t know what it actually achieved. And after finishing my MA I realized how closely knit the media environment is and how uninterested they media was in covering the Caucasus, my area of expertise. It was frustrating.
Also graduating at a time when the economic crisis had hit the hardest, I was - as many of my generation - a bit lost. I worked hard to become a professional for 10 years, but a professional in what? Not only where there no jobs out there, I also felt uncomfortable working again in a civil society that just applied for grants to stay alive, working in politics hadn’t worked either for me, and the media gigs I got were so minor I couldn’t survive on it.
I started teaching English. But after one and a half year I realized that if I wouldn’t quit, I would get stuck in teaching. Although it did give me some fulfillment, as I was actually working with youth and could see change in them, it was not something I wanted to do my whole life, the impact seemed to small. So I quit. With only one small freelance gig to go on.
However, it was the best decision of my life. A few months later, after doing minor freelance gigs and teaching private students, Edgeryders was introduced to my life, and by that I mean: alternative ways to change the communities around you.
Yesterday I organized the first georgia futterspotters meeting after the conference, and I was sure it would be a really small group: I was wrong. Every other person that came in put a smile on my face: six months of working with Edgeryders had actually made some impact, people were willing to sit down together and discus issues, come up with new ideas, and as Khatuna put it “trying to find a way to get these talks turn into real actions”.
The Futurespotters conference was great in a sense that it brought inspiration, at least for me. To see all these people from different places do different things, not to make money, but to make a change.
Personally for me, it would’ve been better if - besides the final report - some more concrete actions would’ve been crystalized during the conference. However, after the meet-up yesterday, I am certain that for georgia good things will happen.
My story is a very interpersonal story, I am aware of it. However, I felt the need to share my own journey. Through edgeryders I have gotten three new clients that all work with passion, who are not grant eaters. Who want to take a new approach. Their enthusiasm ignites enthusiasm within me. And through edgeryders I have realized that, as Nika from Guerrilla Gardening said it: “the government is the child and society its parent, the parent has to tell the child what goes well and what goes wrong.”