One phone call from the Red Cross was enough to be invited and warmly greeted in Zvart Barsumyan’s small house. She was ready to tell her and her son’s story. The first thing you notice is, that despite of hardships and difficulties, Mrs. Zvart is full of optimism; looking far away with eyes full of sadness and hope, she repeats in sweet Wester Armenian: “Everything will be fine”.
After the war in Syria, started from 2012, many Armenians fled to Armenia, leaving behind all they hag earned and created during their lives.
In 2013, Mrs. Zvart’s son started his studies in one of Universities in Armenia, she had planned to join him with his husband in a year, but he suddenly died. She arrived in Armenia alone.
Mrs. Zvart was very active women, she loves art and music, and was a member of number of cultural centers in Alleppo, for example of “Zvart” choir. She was very close to her national roots, and it made easier her cultural integration in Armenia. But the economic side of the process was not that easy, and here the Red Cross was the first to support her. Mrs Zvart was a great cooker, like many other Syrian Armenian women, who had never worked before. Now, the new circumstances, made her to think of using her abilities to ensure her stable income. She applied to Armenian Red Cross Society and received microwave oven and refrigerator, which gave her an opportunity to start her small business.
When the (“Increased Resilience of Syrian Armenians and Host Population” (IRIS) Programme launched in July, 2018, which is leaded buy Austrian Red Cross and being implemented in consortium with Armenian Caritas, SME Cooperation Association, Centre for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues, Mrs. Zvart benefits also from housing support ( in the frames of the project 100 families receive 100 EUR monthly).
“The Red Cross is my family, I love these guys and ladies, their care, love and support, their smiles and shining eyes are precious, you feel that they are honest and kind. Thanks God, the Red Cross doesn’t forget us”, she says.
Her son is now MA student in Polytechnic University, he is a software engineer. Even though he has good career perspectives abroad, they do not plan to leave the country.
“I can not imagine living in any other place, than Armenia. Money is not the most important thing in the world. The most important is Humanity. Sometimes people forget about that, when they live hard life. But I am sure, that everything will be fine”, she assures.
This woman, who loves art and reading, and believes in better future, dreams only to have her own home and see her son living happy, because everything will be all right.
Increased Resilience of Syrian Armenians and Host Population (IRIS) Programme – The objective of IRIS is to contribute to the National Integration Policy that intends to guarantee a dignified life for Syrian Armenians in Armenia through full protection and integration, with the specific objective to improve social and economic resilience of Syrian Armenians and host population and to strengthen institutional capacities for economic growth in Armenia. The programme is being implemented by the consortium consists of the Armenian Red Cross Socierty, Armenian Caritas Benevolent NGO, Centre for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues NGO, SME Cooperation Association and led by the Austrian Red Cross. Save the Children is affiliated partner to the programme and led by the Austrian Red Cross. IRIS progranme is funded by European Union Regional Trust Fund ‘Madad’, Austrian Development Cooperation, Austrian Red Cross.