From 2009, Ecologia supported Braveheart Georgia with their project – The Datuna Appeal – which was aimed at bringing Dato (Datuna) a small disabled boy from the Temi Community in Georgia to Edinburgh for a life saving operation on his spine. Ecologia raised the funds for the operation in July 2011. We continued to assist with his ongoing mobility needs when he went home to Temi Community in Georgia. We also connected Dato with a Georgian Disabled Organisation, ERTAD to support the development of sport for the disabled in Georgia.
Dato visited Thornlie School in Wishaw, South Lanarkshire, during his first visit to Scotland for preliminary tests. The children and their teachers took him to their hearts immediately. Although Thornlie School is in an economically depressed area, the children, their parents and teachers rallied together to raise £1,000 to pay for a ramp to be built for Dato at Temi Community.
Georgian singing has become a passion at the school, and engaging with the Datuna Project has been instrumental in transforming the school’s level of attainment. The Thornlie school children performed three fundraising concerts in Edinburgh for Dato. The choir was invited to sing at the Fifth International Symposium of Traditional Georgian Polyphony at Tbilisi Conservatoire, a highlight of 2010. They also paid Datuna a visit at Temi community. None of the Scottish children had ever travelled away from home before!
Head Teacher of Thornlie School, David Hughes, describes their journey. Below is a clip about their journey as well as a heartwarming video about Datuna when we first met him.
In 2015, he joined his adoptive mother, Fiona Hird, to live with her and her family in Scotland. Dato chose a new name David Wallace Hird. He was proud to be welcomed into the country by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. David Wallace is passionate about Scotland and sport. He is already a junior member of the Scottish Wheelchair Basketball team. His goal is to play for Team GB. The video at the bottom of the page of David with his adopted brothers gives an idea of this boy’s tremendous joy for life!