KNIGHTS OF VARTAN LAUNCHES ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM FOR ARTSAKH REFUGEES

Posted on January. 14. 2024

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KNIGHTS OF VARTAN LAUNCHES ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM FOR ARTSAKH REFUGEES 

Armenian winter tourism popularity on the rise among Arab countries 

The Knights of Vartan initiated a comprehensive Economic Sustainability Program for Armenians displaced from Artsakh, along with support for local Armenian families in communities where Artsakh refugees reside. In October 2023, the organization launched a humanitarian project to provide immediate assistance to Artsakh refugees. This initiative included funding for critical necessities such as housing, food, heaters, washing machines, and other household appliances, during the initial months, for over 200 Artsakh families living in Armenia. 

This year, the Knights of Vartan will launch its Economic Sustainability Program to create jobs and help sustain the economy. The displaced families essentially need help finding jobs to rebuild their lives and help generate sufficient income to sustain their expenses and thrive in their homeland. This program is designed to empower families by providing the tools and resources they need for long-term self-sustainability. The Knights of Vartan are committed to fostering economic resilience and self-sufficiency within the communities they serve. 

The financial burden of rent and the cost of living is overwhelmingly high for Artsakh families. Recognizing this challenge, the Knights of Vartan have stepped in to provide critical support. The organization remains dedicated to empowering families displaced from Artsakh to ensure that they overcome the economic hurdles and build sustainable futures in Armenia. 

“While the immediate help we provided in 2023 addressed a pressing need, empowering individuals with the means to sustain themselves creates a lasting impact. This program focuses on long-term solutions, fostering independence and resilience among the Armenian people.” said Hunan Arshakian, Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan. “The program demonstrates the biblical proverb, Give a man a fish, and He will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and He will eat for a lifetime,” he added. 

In December 2023, two beneficiaries, the Gabrielyan and Grigorian families, were the first two applicants approved under the program. Karmen Gabrielyan, along with his wife and two children, had to flee Taghavard, Artsakh on September 19, 2023, and find refuge in Nor Hajn near Abovyan town. This marked the second time in two years that the Gabrielyan family lost their home, livelihood, and all their possessions, navigating the challenges of survival as refugees. 

In 2022, the Knights of Vartan provided tools for Karmen to work in Artsakh. Unfortunately, these had to be left behind when he fled his home with his family, leaving everything behind. Once again, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan stepped in, offering financial support for Karmen to acquire additional tools essential for continuing his work. This assistance reflects the ongoing commitment of Knights and Daughters of Vartan to empower individuals like Karmen, enabling them to rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities. 

In his heartfelt application, Karmen said, “I need tools to work so that I can feed my family.” 

Karmen received funding for new replacement equipment on December 24, 2023 through the Knights of Vartan Economic Sustainability Program. The same day, Karmen successfully purchased 29 large and small tools essential for his work. Now equipped with new tools, he is in the process of rebuilding his life once again. Karmen’s expertise lies in electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, flooring, tiling, and home-building construction. Despite the setbacks he faces, Karmen commutes to various construction sites in Yerevan, daily, to earn an income. 

With these upgraded tools and equipment, Karmen anticipates securing employment and delivering better-quality work on construction sites in and around Yerevan. The positive impact of the Knights of Vartan’s assistance extends beyond providing tools; it contributes to the broader goal of fostering economic sustainability and community integration for Artsakh refugees like Karmen. 

The Grigorian family wanted to use their experience and culinary skills to open a bakery to begin rebuilding their lives. Although Yerevan boasts numerous Zhingyalov Hats bistros, most are concentrated in the city center, with few extending to the suburbs. Recognizing this gap, the Grigoryan family identified an opportunity to offer authentic and delicious Zhingyalov Hats from Artsakh. Situated in the 9th Massive, an area towards the outskirts of Yerevan characterized by tall apartment buildings and supermarkets, there was a noticeable absence of cafes and bistros. 

YEREVAN, ARMENPRESS. Armenia is becoming more appealing for tourists especially in the winter season as the sector is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, officials say. 

Armenian Tourism Federation President Mekhak Apresyan told Armenpress that seemingly everything is starting all over again in the tourism sector after the pandemic, because tourism had stopped. 

“The sector began to gradually recover after the coronavirus, and eventually we had a very good result, we surpassed even the 2019 figures with the total number of visits,” he said. 

Apresyan said that all steps must be carried out simultaneously for the development of winter tourism in Armenia. He said that winter tourism infrastructures must be developed and improved, and Armenia’s tourism opportunities must be properly presented in the global market. 

Seeing the potential in this underserved location, the Grigoryan family developed a simple business plan and proposal. In this family-run business, each family member — from the youngest grandchild, who is a student, to their 75-year-old grandmother — contributes to its success. 

Their grandmother takes the lead in cooking to guarantee the highest quality of Zhingyalov Hats is made. 

“I wasn’t sure what to do after enduring all these hardships, but this project from the Knights of Vartan truly saved us. It provided us with a meaningful endeavor to stay busy with, to create and share, and, of course, to earn income for our family,” Gayane, the mother of the family, shared. 

The family leased and promptly renovated the bakery on their own, with equipment acquired through funding from the Knights of Vartan. Now, the entire family is working hard to operate the establishment, addressing challenges together, step by step. The Grigoryan daughters created a Facebook page for the bistro, showcasing their menu, while their grandmother introduced delectable new bites, all of which are available for delivery. 

The Knights of Vartan extend a helping hand to our compatriots through economic projects like these, enabling them to rebuild their lives. The resilience and collaborative spirit of communities are essential in overcoming challenges and building brighter futures. The journey of refugee families, like that of the Grigoryan and Gabrielyan’s, serves as a testament to the perseverance, diligence, and tenacity of Armenians who, after fleeing genocide and persecution, have bravely embarked on the arduous task of rebuilding their lives in Armenia. 

The Knights and Daughters of Vartan are continuing to raise funds to support this economic recovery program. You can learn more about the program, how to donate, and stay up-to-date on their efforts by visiting the website. through their website. 

The Knights of Vartan Inc. is a fraternal leadership and service organization of Armenian men dedicated to safeguarding and perpetuating the Armenian heritage and cultural traditions. Its membership represents the spectrum of the leadership of the Armenian community. It was founded in 1916 in Philadelphia and is based in the United States with 23 local chapters which support Armenian causes around the world. For more information about the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, visit the website.

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