Sixty-one-year-old Anjela Mkrtchyan lives alone. Sometimes she hosts her beloved granddaughter who lives just a few blocks away. The handmade stove in the corner of Anjela’s small domik serves as her heating source during Gyumri’s harsh winters. During the summer, it becomes her table.
Anjela lost her husband Gevorg when her son Vahe was still a toddler. She juggled multiple jobs to raise him—from cooking to sewing to selling handicrafts. She did everything.
In 2012, Anjela sold her government-issued apartment and left for Russia since her son couldn’t find a job in Gyumri.
“We went to find our fortune but we failed,” said Anjela with sadness.
Vahe, who was a mechanic, was tragically stabbed and killed during a fight with a client. Anjela, her daughter-in-law Ruzan, and granddaughter Anjelika, soon found themselves without a place to live. They returned to Gyumri where Ruzan was eventually able to buy an apartment. Anjela, however, lives in a domik, which is one of the small containers provided to people who lost their homes during the 1988 earthquake.
To survive, Anjela attends the Nishan and Margrit Atinizian Senior Center every day, just as she has since November 2014.
“FAR has provided me with hot meals for eight years, which has helped me to survive. I also receive hygiene supplies, vouchers for public baths, and Christmas gifts through the senior center. So now I don’t spend much money on gas or electricity to cook at home,” she said. Socializing with others also helps her immensely, said Anjela, who still sews and made a doll wearing Armenian taraz for Margrit Atinizian when she last visited the center back in 2019.
FAR’s soup kitchens provide a lifeline to some of Armenia’s most vulnerable, including its elderly