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Designing away the Wounds of War: A Dispatch from Ashot Hambaryan

Ashot's once-simple life was completely transformed when he was confronted with the tragedy of a full-scale war. However, through this experience, he discovered a newfound appreciation for the job he had dreamed of since childhood, which ultimately became his salvation.

At the age of eighteen, Ashot was drafted into military service, where he served for seven months before the outbreak of the 44-day war in Artsakh. Along with his fellow soldiers, he was immediately sent to the frontline, where he witnessed the brutal realities of war. To this day, memories of the dark mountains, dense forests, and the sound of aircraft and drones shelling military outposts and civilians continue to haunt him. “The bombs flashing and rumbling could have been a good script of a film I used to watch when I was a child, but the reality of war was much harsher and totally different,” said Ashot who still carries a sense of sorrow when recalling those experiences.

On November 2nd while preparing to replace his fellow soldier’s shift, Ashot was wounded and found himself in a hospital in Sisian. He was later transferred to a Yerevan hospital for further surgery and treatment. After several weeks, he returned to Artsakh to continue his military service. On January 20th, 2022, he was discharged from service.

“When I returned home from military service, I had big dreams, but now, as I reflect on those dreams, I see them more as aspirations than tangible goals. My then dreams seemed more romantic and, probably, less grounded. Today, my primary focus is on achieving concrete objectives and making progress toward specific accomplishments,” said Ashot who enrolled in a 3-month training course on 3D Max, which was organized and implemented as part of the Armenia Workforce Development Activity at the Zinvori Tun Rehabilitation Center.

Launched in October 2021, Armenia Workforce Development Activity is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) and consortium partners, including the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) Foundation, Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and Civitta Armenia. The Activity aims to equip 10,000 young people at the age of 15-29 in all provinces of Armenia with working skills, highly demanded in the labor market and ensure 7,000 have better employment opportunities in the fields of ICT/high-tech, agriculture and hospitality.

Ashot openly shared that the course not only allowed him to move beyond the traumatic experiences of war and develop new skills in 3D modeling and design, but it also provided him with the opportunity to connect with other war veterans who were attending the course alongside him. He was able to interact with them during class and even spend time with them outside of class, which allowed him to enjoy life once again."

After completing the course, Ashot landed a job as a furniture designer at Door & More, one of the furniture-making companies in Yerevan. He has already designed a few pieces of furniture and is proud to say that his designs have met the expectations of the customers. He candidly smiles, saying that there have been no complaints so far. In addition to his job, Ashot is also continuing his studies at the National Polytechnic University of Armenia, where he had enrolled prior to the war.

“I see a lot of potential in this field, and I strongly believe that if I continue to study and work hard, I can become a proficient and highly sought-after furniture designer in the next five years,” Ashot said with a gentle smile. "It's fascinating to see what can be created from a simple piece of wood or stone, or any material for that matter, as long as you have the creativity and drive to achieve your life goals.”


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