Photos: In Georgian valley, war-scarred women battle tradition

In Georgian valley, war-scarred women are battling against the tradition to make a living. The Syrian war has directly affected at least one other woman in the valley, who has also faced prejudice in trying to raise a family alone. Striving for a better future, these women are now helping and supporting young girls of their community, making them capable enough to live their dreams.

Updated On Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST 9 Photos
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Leila Achishvili, 53, the owner of Leila’s Guesthouse, hosts tourists from Poland and Belgium for a dinner in Jokolo village of Pankisi, Georgia. Fending for herself after leaving a husband who kidnapped her and then losing two sons in Syria’s war, Leila Achishvili has fought hard to secure her independence in fiercely patriarchal north-east Georgia. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Leila Achishvili, 53, the owner of Leila’s Guesthouse, hosts tourists from Poland and Belgium for a dinner in Jokolo village of Pankisi, Georgia. Fending for herself after leaving a husband who kidnapped her and then losing two sons in Syria’s war, Leila Achishvili has fought hard to secure her independence in fiercely patriarchal north-east Georgia. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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Students attend an English class for intermediate level in a school in Jokolo village of Pankisi. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Students attend an English class for intermediate level in a school in Jokolo village of Pankisi. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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A boy takes his horse to Duisi village to take part in a horse race to commemorate death of one of the residents of Pankisi Gorge. The gorge is linked by mountain passes to the southern Russian region of Chechnya, and many of its inhabitants are ethnic Chechens. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

A boy takes his horse to Duisi village to take part in a horse race to commemorate death of one of the residents of Pankisi Gorge. The gorge is linked by mountain passes to the southern Russian region of Chechnya, and many of its inhabitants are ethnic Chechens. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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Mariam Kebadze (2L), 16, and her cousins go for a walk along Alazani river in Dzebakhevi village of Pankisi. The three girls live in Grozny, Chechnya and came to Pankisi for the first time and are spending summer here. “I love my cousins and we have a lot of fun but I think they are still very immature and we can’t talk about many things,“ Mariam said. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Mariam Kebadze (2L), 16, and her cousins go for a walk along Alazani river in Dzebakhevi village of Pankisi. The three girls live in Grozny, Chechnya and came to Pankisi for the first time and are spending summer here. “I love my cousins and we have a lot of fun but I think they are still very immature and we can’t talk about many things,“ Mariam said. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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The Syrian war has directly affected at least one other woman in the valley, who has also faced prejudice in trying to raise a family alone. Sumaya’s husband was killed there. Now, she has opened a gym, which is one the few public places where women can meet. She says many are too fearful to attend. But Achishvili and her daughter Mariam, plan to go, hoping to show others that practicing sport is nothing to be ashamed of. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

The Syrian war has directly affected at least one other woman in the valley, who has also faced prejudice in trying to raise a family alone. Sumaya’s husband was killed there. Now, she has opened a gym, which is one the few public places where women can meet. She says many are too fearful to attend. But Achishvili and her daughter Mariam, plan to go, hoping to show others that practicing sport is nothing to be ashamed of. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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Women are having a break after singing and dancing on a very hot day for a traditional Sufi ceremony, zikr, performed every Friday in Duisi village of Pankisi. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Women are having a break after singing and dancing on a very hot day for a traditional Sufi ceremony, zikr, performed every Friday in Duisi village of Pankisi. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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Achishvili dreamt of becoming an actress, but a visiting Chechen businessman fell in love with her and, she says, abducted her and took her back to his country to be his wife. Before she left him, the couple had two sons, who moved to Austria. Achishvili lost touch with them and only learnt though a friend that they had been radicalised by Islamic State and killed while fighting in Syria. “When I found out my children were dead, I fell down, I could no longer walk,” she said. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Achishvili dreamt of becoming an actress, but a visiting Chechen businessman fell in love with her and, she says, abducted her and took her back to his country to be his wife. Before she left him, the couple had two sons, who moved to Austria. Achishvili lost touch with them and only learnt though a friend that they had been radicalised by Islamic State and killed while fighting in Syria. “When I found out my children were dead, I fell down, I could no longer walk,” she said. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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A woman covers her face during a rally held by residents of the Pankisi Gorge, who protest against the planned construction of a hydropower plant, near the village of Birkiani. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

A woman covers her face during a rally held by residents of the Pankisi Gorge, who protest against the planned construction of a hydropower plant, near the village of Birkiani. (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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Bela Mutoshvili, 55, a music teacher, and guesthouse owner, sits outside her Folk Guesthouse in Jokolo village. “Developing tourism is the only way for the village to survive now, there are no jobs here,” Mutoshvili said. “I have a group of very talented students but I’m afraid if they get married young they give will up music and their dreams. They are very ambitious and want to continue studying in conservatory, I support them as much as I can.” (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Bela Mutoshvili, 55, a music teacher, and guesthouse owner, sits outside her Folk Guesthouse in Jokolo village. “Developing tourism is the only way for the village to survive now, there are no jobs here,” Mutoshvili said. “I have a group of very talented students but I’m afraid if they get married young they give will up music and their dreams. They are very ambitious and want to continue studying in conservatory, I support them as much as I can.” (Ekaterina Anchevskaya / REUTERS)

Updated on Jul 28, 2019 04:43 PM IST
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