Armenia: Despite economic constraints, no bar for creativity

Article 08 February 2019 Armenia

Meet Alvard Kirakosyan who lives in the village of Dovegh in Armenia with her husband and son. She started a sewing workshop in Noyemberyan, a small town on the border Tavush region. The talented seamstress sews bedding sets for babies, swaddling bands and towels among other things at her workshop. 

But it is not easy running a small business successfully. For starters, her daily travel to and fro can be quite stressful due to the lack of public transportation in the area. This means Alvard has to rely on her fellow villagers to give her a ride to the workshop situated four kilometres away from her village. Still, there are days when she covers the distance on foot.

For the time being, Alvard sources the fabric for use from Yerevan, which is really far away. She believes that if the borders with Azerbaijan were open, her business would thrive. She would easily be able to buy the items she needs from nearby places, which will make her work easier.

CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia
CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia

This is where Alvard spends most of her time sewing bedding sets for babies, swaddling bands and towels.

CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia
CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia

There was a time when Alvard could not work for stretches longer than half an hour because her old sewing machine made too much noise. We provided her with two new sewing machines and a few pairs of scissors.

CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia
CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia

We stay in the village and do whatever possible to earn a living. Other than that, what else can we really do?

CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Margherita Simona Marcia

The International Committee of the Red Cross works on both sides of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan to help people deal with the security situation, loss of livelihood and lack of economic opportunities because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In border villages of Tavush region, Armenia, people often opt for creative pursuits to help sustain themselves. Alvard is one of them. We provided financial assistance to her and 64 other vulnerable families in the village who started various small-scale projects.