Lilia N. was born in 1994, after her parents Vitalik and Anjela fled Azerbaijan during the Nargorno-Karabagh War. They settled in the town of Sisian, Armenia, where they spent seven years living in a cramped dormitory. Lilia and her older brother Vazgen were born during that time. Soon after, Vitalik contracted a spinal illness as a result of his war injuries, became bedridden, and died in 1999. Anjela, who is a high school Russian teacher, had to single handedly support her family.
“It was not easy to raise two children on a teacher’s salary” Anjela said. “I did the best I could for my children. I was both a mother and a father for them.”
In 2001, her family were finally able to move into a one-room apartment in a special building for refugees. The apartment, however, lacked some basic amenities, but the family has done their best to make it as livable as possible. Now, Vazgen is in the Armenian Army and Lilia is in the tenth grade of secondary school. An excellent student, Lilia also loves working with flowers and incorporates this art into her classes. For the past two years, Lilia and her family have received support through the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), financed by the Women’s Guild of Armenian Church in America (Eastern Diocese). Lilia’s stipend makes a huge difference for their family and relieves some of the Anjela’s financial strain.
“I am very happy to receive such support,” Lilia said. “In letters to my benefactors I expressed my wish for all Armenians in the Diaspora to visit and explore their homeland, and also witness the success and achievements of their sponsored children in Armenia.”