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In the midst of violence that has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands, Vital Voices reached out to the Georgian women leaders in our global network.

Wednesday, August 13, Tanya Woynarowsky, Vital Voices’ Program Officer for Eurasia spoke to two of our Network members living in Tibilisi: Gvantsa Katsiashvili and Mari Meskhi. Both reported that Russian troops are pervasive and continue to loot the city. Yet despite their current situation, Gvantsa and Mari told us that they are trying to be brave and patient.

A testament to their tremendous leadership, both women strive to raise their voices to promote awareness of the current situation.

Gvantsa Katsiashvili, a prominent business owner and alumnae of the 2007 Vital Voices of Eurasia Summit, has shared her thoughts with Washington Post and CNN journalists. Making an impression on Washington Post Staff writer, Tara Bahrampour, Gvantsa was featured in one article that reads:

“They have a lot of artillery and tanks, but we have heart,” said Gvantsa Katsiashvili, 37, who held a candle in a plastic cup. “We are a brave people.”

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Mari Meskhi who is active in Vital Voices’ human rights work and serves as Head of the State Fund for the Protection and Assistance of Statutory Victims of Human Trafficking at Georgia’s Ministry of Healthcare and Social Security is writing an account of her experience.

While neither network member has the ability to access the Internet, Vital Voices will work to remain in close contact with them.

It is our hope that the conflict comes to a swift and diplomatic end so that no more lives are lost.