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STATISTICS:
Women experience low social status in Japan but “mothers” are valued and respected. Most of the Maternal and Child Health initiatives are shaped on the premise that most mothers will not enter the labor force.
According to the 1999 UNICEF report from the United Nations Children’s Fund, “female-headed households make up the majority of all the households living in poverty.”
A Post-Soviet Story
Justyna Mielnikiewicz– Eve Photographers
PolandGALLERYCONVERSATION
Georgia was once the most prosperous nation in the Soviet Union. That prosperity crumbled after independence in 1991 and the demise of the Soviet Union.

It continued to tailspin during the chaos that followed the civil and separatist’s wars and the inherently corrupt regime of Eduard Shevardnadze. This has all been utterly devastating for the large majority of the country’s population.

Social workers for The Center for Prevention of Infant Abandonment (the only center of its kind here), seek out mothers in maternity wards who may eventually abandon their children, and bring them to the center for further assistance.

I met 30 year-old Eka there. Eka did not intend to abandon her baby, but was financially unable to care for her. Unable to establish relationships with the other mothers in the center, she returned home, a condemned apartment destroyed during the 2001 earthquake, where she lives with her blind mother and grandmother. Eka is half Georgian and Russian. Her parents divorced when her father and brother left for Russia. Nevertheless, she grew up in normal circumstances: her mother worked and Eka studied physics at Tbilisi University. But during the chaos of the 90s, her mother lost her job and then her sight.

Tamara is Eka’s first child. Her husband is twenty-four years older, and only recently did he find some work which covers the basic needs of the family. Eka’s life is a microcosm of the harsh realities many people face in Georgia. She has fallen through the threadbare net of the current country’s economic and social structure. Yet somehow she manages to survive.

Like Eka, many young people from this generation face a reality that was much different to the one experienced by her parents. The Socialist System in this region had its limits, but it was able to provide a level of security. Employment was offered, and social and medical insurance along with it. Our parent’s generation finished university and worked in their field. After Communism fell apart almost all the people in my generation started to work in new system. We often create our own working place, and take part time jobs with no additional benefits. We have to be more flexible and open minded.

As a photographer I work mostly in the so called Post-Soviet space. Through my work I wish to show how people lives have changed here, how they deal with this new reality. I choose Eka for this photo story on Motherhood to show a common experience many can relate to after the fall of Communism, when relatively stable lifestyles were replaced by poverty and instability. People in the West often complain of how hard their life is. I hope that the impact of this story will be that others may compare their own life to Eka’s and see one example of a mother in Georgia dealing with dramatic challenges, and doing so with dignity.
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Lourdes Segade – Eve Photographers
Spain
Latest Comment
hello, lichum! this is lourdes. i am a photographer and i am not the same woman that appears in the images i took. i am not even a mother (though i want to be one when the moment comes).
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