In the foothills of the Tavush province of Armenia, seemingly a world away from Yerevan, rests a tiny community called Berkaber. Within this tiny community is an abandoned café, originally built through local youth efforts but never used because of Covid and the war. Now the café has a renewed purpose: providing much needed shelter for the Avanesyan family.
The Avanesyans thrived in their hometown of Artsakh before the relentless shelling from the Azeris began. Alyona, 38, and her husband, Armen, 40, were confronted with a harsh reality and had to abandon everything they held dear. Embarking on a grueling, four-day journey from Artsakh, they found refuge in Berkaber.
"My husband was on duty when the shelling started," Alyona explained, "We sought shelter but, after nearly a day, we made the difficult decision to leave for Stepanakert in my neighbor's car. There was no way for me to contact my husband, and for three days, fear and uncertainty were our constant companions. Finally, I received the news that my husband had been trapped by the Azeris. It was only after a long and harrowing ordeal that they managed to escape the siege, reuniting with us before journeying to Goris.”
"We left our home," Alyona confided, her voice tinged with emotion, "taking only the essentials and vital documents. I kept looking back on the road, desperately trying to capture one last glimpse of my home." Karine, Alyona's 10-year-old daughter, chimed in, "We even left our pets there," she said, as she pored over the handful of treasured photos they managed to bring with them. Despite the perilous proximity to the Azeri spotlight, Alyona is determined to raise her four children in Berkaber.
“We'd love to put down roots here, maybe even turn this café into our cozy home, if that's possible. We've had enough of the refugee road, and all we really want is to live with dignity and make sure our kids have a safe and promising future.”
In an effort to support Alyona’s four children and thousands of others, FAR has already delivered over 25 tons of food, hygiene supplies, bedding, warm clothes, heaters, and more to around 1,000 displaced families in Tavush, Syunik, Ararat, Vayots Dzor, and Lori provinces of Armenia.
Providing basic needs to families in need is just the beginning. FAR’s goal is to provide our dear brothers and sisters with the resources that would enable them to stay in Armenia, rather than to look for opportunities on other shores.
To extend our reach and help more families, we ask you to take action now and donate to FAR today. Now, more than ever, we need your support.