“Me and my schoolmates frequently come here, as we love this colorful playground and newly installed swings,” - said an 8-year-old Mariam from Matkhoji village.   

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of Khoni municipality, Matkhoji village stands as an example of community resilience and renewal. Despite its sizable population of around 450 households, including returned migrants and families affected by emigration, Matkhoji had long been lacking a communal space for leisure and recreation. 

In response to this need, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Khoni municipality embarked on a collaborative effort to transform Matkhoji's landscape. Through a rigorous process of community engagement, which saw 60% of locals participating in random polling, it became clear that the creation of an entertainment square was the community's priority. 

Thanks to the concerted efforts of IOM and Khoni municipality, Matkhoji now has a vibrant recreation area equipped with modern amenities. The newly opened square serves as a gathering point for residents of all ages, providing a safe and inviting environment for socialization and relaxation. Children like Mari revel in the colorful playground and swings. 

“We are very happy and proud that we managed to contribute to restoring and reenergizing life in the community,” - says Sanja Celebic Lukovac, Chief of Mission of IOM Georgia. 

This community-driven initiative, implemented through the "Sustainable Reintegration and Community Revitalization Pilot Initiative in Communities of Return" project, through the financial support of International Development Fund (IDF) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in 2020-2023. 

Matkhoji Village’s New Recreational Space, Transformed with IOM Support