Lazare, who made the children living in the village of Nikozi fall in love with rock climbing

24 May, 2023

In Nikozi, young people are glad about the arrival of spring because they start training in rock climbing. At this time of the year, Lazare, their main coach, and fan, comes more often. He worked in Tbilisi, orphanage houses in Dzegvi and Bediani, went through the August War, visited many monasteries, and then became the inspirer of a new, healthy interest for these children. Soon, the boredom inherent to the children of Nikozi during the winter time will be replaced within a training hall that is already being set up with the tireless work of Lazare Komakhidze, the vice-president of the Rock Climbing Federation, and the support provided by the Open Society Georgia Foundation.


Lazare as a small child, together with his mother and 7 brothers and sisters, moved from Tbilisi first to the Dzegvi Orphanage, and then to the Bediani Family Orphanage. There, the mother taught children and ran a puppet theater. Lazare was growing up with some 150 other peers when he became interested in rock climbing. Routine life was replaced by an interesting goal and he soon became the champion of Georgia.


Then, he started to study in the theological seminary and consider staying in the monastery. This is how he found himself in the monastery of Nikozi on August 8, 2008, during the most difficult days of the war.  Together with the monk, he took care of the goods left in the houses emptied by the local population and helped him with other caring tasks until the monastery was razed to ashes as a result of a shell dropped from an airplane. Everyone survived, but they could not stay on the ground.


Lazare could not break his connection with Nikozi. He became close to local children in the framework of the Sunday school in the monastery and organized educational circles and biking tours for them. Finally, he returned to his favorite childhood sport and made a climbing wall, which made dozens of local girls and boys fall in love with a healthy lifestyle, got them motivated, and brightened up their everyday life.


The wall mount in the open air was a significant obstacle to training in the sun, wind, or cold weather. The children won multiple championships and many prizes, however, due to frequent breaks, the achieved results were lost. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Lazarus who was motivated by the special interest of young people, a building was handed over to the Rock Climbing Club of Nikozi that was in need of renovation. Today, with the support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the involvement of volunteers, this building is in the process of refurbishment. Soon there will be a space in Nikozi where some 50 children interested in rock climbing will have the opportunity to practice in/under any weather (conditions). There are still many steps to be taken to organize/arrange the hall, which the club hopes the support of the civil society.


Rock climbing is the leading sport in the village and there is a long way ahead to become a champion.