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A Sprout of Hope for a Displaced Family

As the sun rises over the lush green fields of Gandzakar village, 11-year-old Alex finds solace in his small farm, a refuge from the trauma of his forced exodus in September 2023.

Alex cultivates lettuce, green onions, Caucasian garden cress, and other crops reminiscent of his life in Artsakh. “This is Alex’s garden, and he does all the work himself. He tries to spend his time efficiently, build new skills, and discover a sense of belonging in this new environment,” says his father, Shmavon Khachatryan, 38.

The Khachatryan family of five once lived and worked in the Martuni region of Artsakh. They fled the bombings during the 2020 war, finding temporary shelter in Gandzakar village, Ijevan region. “We liked the village; the people were kind and even suggested we stay. But we wanted to return to Artsakh, despite our village being under Azeri control after the 44-day war,” sighs Shmavon. The family had just resettled in Stepanakert when they were forced to leave again in 2023.

“We left Artsakh on the night of September 27. My wife and her mom cleaned the house as if we were just visiting somewhere and would come back soon. We even locked the door with a key. We took only some clothing for the kids, our documents, and a few photos. At the last minute, I grabbed the blueprint of the housing project I dreamt of building in Stepanakert,” he says, hoping one day to realize that dream in Gandzakar, where they plan to settle.

The family received comprehensive humanitarian support from FAR, including essential heating equipment, household supplies, and school materials for the children.

“We are lucky to have settled in this village. The people are nice, and FAR has been incredibly supportive. So far, all our support has come from FAR. We haven't received help from anywhere else. Right now, my wife is baking ‘pakhlava’ in the oven FAR provided. Honestly, if not for FAR, we might have had no other option,” says Shmavon, adding that he aims to establish an incubator business and develop domestic birds for a sustainable future.

The humanitarian aid was made possible by the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra’s tour concerts in late 2023, which were organized by the Pan Armenian Council of New England and some other Diasporan NGOs, and were dedicated to supporting the forcibly displaced people of Artsakh.

To help more displaced Artsakh families stay in Armenia and avoid seeking opportunities elsewhere, consider donating to FAR today.


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