Armenia: Left his home twice, 13-year-old longs for peace, old friends, and home

Armenia: Left his home twice, 13-year-old longs for peace, old friends, and home

“My only wish for the new year is that there would be peace in the world and no more wars,” says 13-year-old Tigran from his new home in Yerevan, Armenia. Tigran has firsthand experience of how conflict and violence can disrupt lives, ravaging familiar places, and separating loved ones. He had to leave his home in Karabakh twice because of the escalation of hostilities – in autumn of 2020 and then again in September 2023.
Article 27 December 2023 Armenia

For Tigran, whose family was among tens of thousands of people who fled from Karabakh, the challenges include learning to live in a big city, which is unlike his small hometown, and adjusting to a new school.

He shares that he used to actively participate in children's theatre in his hometown and loves the story of The Little Prince. "I even got to play the role of the Little Prince when I was six years old. That is a very special memory for me. My favourite part is when a fox, whom the Little Prince has befriended, tells him that one becomes responsible forever for what they have 'tamed' or established ties with," he says. 

To Tigran his hometown is like that which he has 'tamed'. Noting, that the whole experience has been quite overwhelming, he says, 

I feel a deep connection with the place that I was born and raised in. Leaving Karabakh has meant leaving behind a part of my history along with countless memories.

Though he has been physically separated from his friends in Karabakh, Tigran continues to stay in contact with them. "Even though the times are challenging, there is a thread binding us together and giving us the hope that all is not lost yet," he says.

At the same time, Tigran is also trying to settle in at his new school. "My classmates have been very welcoming. I have already made new friends here. I've embraced the community as if they were family, and they've responded with the same warmth," he says.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been working on the ground to respond to the needs across the region following the escalation of hostilities on 19 and 20 September 2023. We are helping to locate and reconnect separated family members in the region and to evacuate those in need of medical care along with others who want to reunite with the family members. At the request of families, we are also providing support to transport the bodies of those killed so that they can be given dignified burials.