Alvard is feeling young again—The story of her new life in ArmeniaPublished: Jan 16, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Alvard and her husband Razmik were forced to leave their home in Nagorno-Karabakh on the very first day of the war in 2020. Before, they were living in the village of Kharkhaput, Shahumyan District, and moved to Vardenis in Armenia to start a new life.
Alvard was an Armenian language and literature teacher, and for many years she had been principal at the primary school in Karkhaput. Since the war, she has changed her profession and started running a smallholding—caring for domestic animals, cultivating vegetables, and making sweets from natural ingredients.
Alvard is one of those who, despite the despair and sense of helplessness, had the strength of personality to apply herself in an unknown field. She notes: “At first, I was doubtful, as I felt desperate. I didn’t see myself doing manual work, as I had always been in an academic field. However, I realised it was necessary to work.”
Looking back on the last two years, she states, “Undoubtedly, I would have done all this again, as it enabled me to fill my day and make new acquaintances. I was reassured that people can always achieve their goals and meaning regardless of age and difficult life situations.”
Recently, Alvard enrolled in a three-month sewing course. Upon completion, she was offered a paid internship at the Astghavard NGO’s sewing workshop. Now, she has a job and is designing clothes, kitchen items, and stage clothes. She also makes repairs to clothes.
Melanya, the social worker who worked with Alvard, stated after one year’s work, “I witnessed her transformation—from inactivity to activity, from despair to courage. Alvard is a vivid example of a bright, persistent, yet struggling woman who continues to move forward with optimism and with confident steps, thus fulfilling her mission. Alvard is an example for many who have been and are in difficult situations, an example how not to despair in any situation, but try to find a way out.”
Alvard recalls that at the initial stage, she and her husband felt very lonely, their network of people was small, and they were still affected by bad memories. The training and the meetings with the psychologist and social worker helped them feel valued and realise their self-worthwhile reaching out to others. “Even two hours spent in the centre make my day. I don’t see any gaps between me and others. My husband also takes part in meetings. Since he has been engaged in the meetings, there have been obvious positive changes in his life.”
We share this story with you and quote Alvard’s humorous words, “Thank you, dear project. I’ve become young again.” Alvard advises people, who confront difficulties and challenges in life, not to despair but to believe in themselves, accept changes and always strive to learn new things.
The activities supporting Alvard and other displaced people take place thanks to funding from EU Humanitarian Aid, People in Need, in consortium with ACTED, the Armenian Association of Social Workers and Mission Armenia, through a project called ‘REACT: Relief and Early Recovery for People Affected by Conflict in Armenia’.