We help Narine and her dolls to fight the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Sep 30, 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes
We help Narine and her dolls to fight the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
© Photo: Tereza Hronová

Narine Minsyan, from the Armenian city of Gyumri, is able to develop her new business plan - creating handmade dolls - thanks to the EU funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership. Through this project, People in Need (PIN) also supports civil society organizations all around the country.

Narine Minsyan studied economics and worked in a bank until deciding to change careers and live her dream. Her company is called Narodolls: “I went to sewing classes and I started making the dolls. Since childhood I really liked them, and I decided to create them myself. I really loved reading fairy tales, and decided to recreate some of the characters. At the beginning, I was only making animals, but later it slowly changed to Armenian themed dolls. I hope tourists will be interested!”

She runs her company from a traditional old house where she lives with her mother. In the small entrance hall, she has her work room with a sewing machine. The equipment was donated by Women’s Rights House (WRH), alongside several training and opportunities for business consulting. WRH is one of several Armenian civil society organizations that PIN chose to support within its EU funded project. Initially, 30 women from the Shirak region were invited to compete for funding, and Narine was one of the lucky 13 women who were selected to receive a small grant to start their own business. During the process, mentors supported her in designing her startup with the goal of creating a sustainable enterprise: “I participated in two month-long workshops that gave me many new skills and knowledge, how to promote the product. Last year was difficult due to Covid, so it helped me a lot,” says Narine.

COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership is not only about individual aid. It focuses on civil society organizations that are trained, capacitated and financially supported to be more prepared for coping with pandemic situations. “Within the project in Armenia we supported so far 17 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in different ways. CSOs received a series of trainings to enhance their implementing as well as reporting skills. They also obtained financial support for their Covid-19 mitigating activities. Last but not least, due to a challenging recent pandemic and political development in the country, representatives from 12 project CSOs used a change to benefit from offered psycho-social support,“ says Dorota Šuráňová, PIN coordinator of the Programme.

Women’s Rights House is a grassroots NGO based in Gyumri, Armenia, whose goal is to support the development of women leaders in Shirak, the country’s most disadvantaged region. It is one of the civil society organizations supported by People in Need within the EU COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership. The aim of this EU funded project is to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 and to contribute to longer-term socio-economic resilience of vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe. Under the implementation of People in Need (PIN), and in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) and AFEW International (AFEW), the project aims to propose a set of interventions in several countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of People in Need NGO and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Autor: Tereza Hronová

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