Lika Torikashvili
Lika Torikashvili

Lika Torikashvili was only 15 years old when she started the ‘Paint the World’ (PTW) movement in her hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia. Now at 23, the passionate and bold lass is on the road to creating a change not only within Georgia but also the world.

For better days ahead

Lika Torikashvili was only 15 years old when she started the ‘Paint the World’ (PTW) movement in her hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia. Now at 23, the passionate and bold lass is on the road to creating a change not only within Georgia but also the world.

Lika giving a talk at the United Nations summit as Georgia’s Youth representative.

As Georgia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations (UN), Lika Torikashvili’s role is to represent the youths of Georgia, “to be the voice of the youth, and raise it at the UN.” She is also popularising sustainable development goals and connecting the youths with decision-makers and policymakers of the country.

Lika recently visited Kuching for the ‘Paint the World Malaysia’ concert, had shared with New Sarawak Tribune her vision and mission for ‘Paint the World’ (PTW).

Initially, she never expected PTW to be a worldwide movement. Lika was inspired by her college mate, Aziza Aznizan (PTW Malaysia’s founder) and later on, they ventured on the idea of PTW going global. “We saw that PTW does not only fit the Georgian society but also many others, even in developed countries that lack colours; those who are in need.”

The beginning of it all

Started in 2012, Paint the World was created to bring people hope. “I was 15 then, but I could see the struggles and suffering of the people, especially in Georgia where the country is lacking in providing support to people with disabilities,” said Lika.

Lika (right) speaking at an event held in Kuching, Sarawak recently.

Associating colours to happiness and positivity, Lika decided that she do not need a million dollars to make someone’s day, or to remind someone they are not alone. “We brought along colourful balloons to our projects every time and that was how it became a symbol for PTW as we wanted the world to be as colourful as we can,” she added.

With only five members, PTW’s first social project was a visit to the cancer hospital in Tbilisi, Georgia. “We came up with a plan to use all the talents in our members, from singing, dancing to performing magic tricks to entertain and bring smiles to the patients. Back then, we got our school mates to write letters to the patients telling them they are not alone, that they are with them, that they will try and help them any way that they can.”

The tree of letters from her schoolmates to cheer up patients in Tbilisi’s cancer hospital during PTW Georgia’s first ever social project.

Lika added that PTW magnifies a strong message of unity as she, a Jewish girl from Georgia, is painting the world together with Aziza, a Muslim from Malaysia. “We always invite people from different backgrounds, views, and religious perspectives to come together because PTW is all about celebrating differences.”

An eye-opener

Lika with Sarawak Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The PTW movement left a huge impact on Lika. She admitted that over the years, she unknowingly changed as a person. “When I was 15, I had dreams to travel around the world and be like Dora the Explorer. But now I am 23, I have travelled, and it changed me.”

Lika shared that after seeing how people from different countries struggled, she became even more inspired to do as much as she could to contribute to the world. “I now know that I want to do even more. I am inspired to help change the education system which can help with poverty. I also want to help provide medical support to countries that are in need.”

At the same time, she also wants to fight for gender equality as she saw how girls struggled in certain countries that she visited. “I realised that we cannot grow from only providing psychological support. It is important if we could also start providing other necessities.”

Studying Political Science and Government in a university in America, Lika disclosed that she aimed to get into politics one day. “I never saw myself in politics, but the more I see, the more I feel that I can change the world through politics.” Lika also underlined that PTW will never stop as it is a very important movement.

Lika’s policy to care

In terms of social justice, Lika hopes that more people will be willing to care and contribute to the people. To her, the world would be a better place if only people learned to care a little bit more. “The problem with us is there are not many of us who care. I have seen many important people with big names, and I realised that the problem we have is that people do not care!

“I always say that I want more people to care. You can organise an event, raise donations for food, clothes or even a blood drive. Contributing to the society does not always mean only through financial involvements, it can also be by showing your support, or whatever it is that can make someone’s day better. These are some of the small steps to start painting the world,” she added.

When asked on the future for both Lika and PTW, she said that she will continue her efforts to paint the world. “I am looking forward to having exchanges with young Georgian students and to provide scholarships for them to further their studies at Technology College Sarawak.” She is also looking into more leadership programmes and peace training.