Conflicts leave an indelible mark on children's lives, change their destiny. And often their negative impact prevails long after the conflict ends.
As a result of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict escalation, more than 90,000 people were displaced, most of them women and children, according to official data.
The Armenian Red Cross Society, continuing to respond to the escalation of the Karabakh conflict, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in 2021 July launched the program “Enhancing access to education for IB schools and displaced children from NK – 2021." The program is implemented in 10 communities of 5 regions, 5 of which are border communities, the other 5 hosting displaced children. It involves 500 children aged 7-13, 50 from each community.
Following the conflict 10-year-old Meline and her family left her native village of Shahumyan and settled in Hrazdan. She attends basic schools N11 after V. Saroyan. After school she comes to the Smiley Club to prepare lessons and play with her peers.
- It is good here, everything is going well. I especially like the homework part, and especially math. But I miss Shahumyan, I want to return to our house.
As leader volunteer Rosie Harutyunyan puts it, in addition to lesson part they also hold clubs, social events, and, of course, the component of children resistance building. Two pre-trained volunteers help the children on Fridays to cope with stress with a special methodology.
6-year-old Arsen, who is the youngest in the group, is in first grade. He says it is good here, but he wants Stepanakert - their house, his yard and friends.
10-year-old David says that it is difficult for him to walk here every day from Vahagni district, especially since he can do his homework on his own, but he comes because the games are interesting and he has a good time.
The Armenian Red Cross Society, through the Model of Children Resistance Building, helps them to overcome difficulties and adapt to the new environment, as well as to be educated in a safe environment.
The number of children in this group is usually 14-15. They meet 5 days a week, from 14:30 to 18:00. Every day 2 volunteers help the children do their homework according to their schedule, and then play games.
Two social events have been organized, a visit to Garni-Geghard and New Year masquerade. All national holidays, though in the form of small events, are celebrated with parent participation.
9-year-old Hayk loves the events the best.
“I do not like to do lessons, but it is good that they help. I find the Russian language a little difficult but that issue is resolved during the lesson preparation in the Smiley club," says Hayk.
12-year-old Marine loves to attend the Smiley Club, to plays and do the lessons. She has difficulties with English, but the girls are prepared for this as well.
These children were forced to leave home, school, yard, friends, some of them lost relatives. They were forced to live a new life in an unusual environment. They want to be educated, to play, to live safely.
The volunteers of the Armenian Red Cross Society are there to help them overcome the difficulties and the stress.