The Villages of Tomorrow: Say ‘Teeth’!

A dental lab changes life of a mountainous village

November 2, 2021

Photo: Irakli Dzneladze/UNDP

As Georgia kicks off an ambitious rural development reform, the EU and UNDP are supporting local projects across the country, aiming to diversify rural economies, reduce poverty and make rural areas a better place for entrepreneurship, employment, education, health care, technology and climate action.

Say ‘Teeth’! 

“I want people to have beautiful smiles and lots of teeth,” Besik Dekenadze proudly proclaims.

A local boy from mountainous Khulo, Dekenadze was determined to start a dentistry lab in his home village. The first steps took hard work and dedication. After graduating from medical college, he had to take seasonal work in Turkey’s citrus plantations in order to save money for his enterprise.

His remarkable perseverance to develop a local service for his community paid off; he finally started his dentistry lab in a tiny room with a basic device to make dentures.

“People used to have to go all the way to Batumi for dental services. Now, we can carry out the entire process locally in Khulo,” Dekenadze says.

In 2021, Dekenadze’s dental lab took part in the EU and UNDP rural development grant programme. He used the GEL62,400 (US$20,000) grant to expand his workshop with a digital scanner and hi-tech denture-modelling tools. In a remarkable change, instead of Khulo residents travelling to Batumi for dental care, people from Batumi are making the trek to Khulo Municipality to seek out Dekenadze’s quality services and affordable prices.

“We did not have much income from the start, but I was determined to develop things locally, in my home village, and make life easier for my community,” Dekenadze says.

“Starting your business can be scary, but if you stay focused, you will eventually achieve your goal.”