Providing job opportunities for Armenian mothers

Published: Aug 2, 2021 Reading time: 2 minutes
Providing job opportunities for Armenian mothers
© Foto: Tereza Hronová

Silvard Hunanyan, aged 38, is a mother of three from a suburb of the Armenian city of Vanadzor. Her son, Vardan, was born with cerebral palsy, and though she receives some help from her family, she is primarily responsible for the 16-year-old’s care. Hunanyan says, “Vardan first walked when he was 8. He is 16 now, but he still doesn’t speak. He can’t eat or get dressed by himself.” Hunanyan had never had the chance to study, and she hadn’t been able to hold a proper job. So when she was invited to attend professional manicure training organised by Armenian Mothers, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) supported by People in Need (PIN) as part of the European Union-funded “Professional Training for Mothers of Children with Disabilities” project, she didn’t hesitate.

Armenian Mothers is an NGO working to dispel the myth that women, especially those who care for children with disabilities, are unable to do anything outside of tending to their children. Within the framework of the project, 20 Armenian women received professional training. They attended four-month hairdressing and manicure courses, and were trained by top local specialists. They were given professional tools and the necessary materials to start taking clients, and learned how to market their services on social media. The trainings provided mothers with opportunities for working from home, which became especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hunanyan explains: “I have learned how to give manicures and I really love it. It is important for mothers who are dealing with other issues to be able to do this kind of work, because it enables us to take some time for ourselves.” She adds: “I can have my business and contribute financially to my family. Until now, only my husband has been working. It is a bit difficult.” Hunanyan´s husband brings vegetables from the villages and sells them to the markets in Vanadzor. “I am hardworking and ambitious, I just need a bit of direction and support so I can move forward and become a professional,” Hunanyan says.

“I want to have my own salon, so other mothers can learn and work with me and contribute to their family’s finances. Now they are just at home like me, not because they don’t have the ambition, but because they have kids and no time,” she adds.

Armenian Mothers is one of the civil society organisations supported by PIN within the EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership. The aim of the project is to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 and to contribute to the longer-term, socioeconomic resilience of vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe. Implemented by PIN, in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and AFEW International, the project includes interventions in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Autor: Tereza Hronova