In other times, the Byurakan Observatory would have seemed like something out of a dream - a place where starry-eyed stargazers and scholars would gather beneath a canvas of twinkling stars to unravel the mysteries of the universe. But for the Grigoryans, a family forcibly displaced from Artsakh, it has become an unexpected refuge, a fresh start that they've called home for over a month now.
As Bella Grigoryan, a 25-year-old mother of three, switches on a new heater in their modest room, where she lives with her kids - Aramayis, 6, Rafayel, 4, and Laura, 5 - and her husband, Aram, her mind drifts back to her village of Kochoghut in the Martakert region of Artsakh, where they once lived in harmony with nature and thrived on bountiful crops.
"During the blockade, we relied on our crops," Bella reminisces. "Cabbages, potatoes, and a variety of vegetables became our primary source of sustenance. After the 2020 war, when we returned to Martakert, we did our best to start anew. We never thought that three years later, we would have to seek refuge again." Bella lovingly arranges Aramayis's school supplies in the new schoolbag they received from FAR.
Bella was at home when the heavy shelling began on September 19. She rushed to school to retrieve Aramayis, and two days later, the family had to leave behind their cherished home, possessions, and way of life, making their way first to Stepanakert and then to Byurakan.
Now, the Observatory serves as their beacon of hope. They're not searching for stars; they're seeking a safe and stable existence, a better future, and a place to call home one day.
"We have welcomed forty people at the Byurakan Observatory, and the humanitarian support from FAR is invaluable and timely, as these families arrived with nothing - no warm clothing, nor essentials. Our long-standing partnership with FAR in the fields of science and education has now united us to assist our fellow compatriots, with the hope that they can soon regain their stability," said Areg Mikaelyan, Director of the Observatory, who also highlighted the employment of a scientist from Artsakh at the Observatory.
In support of about 5,000 displaced people, FAR has already distributed over 25 tons of food, along with hygiene supplies, bedding, warm clothes, heaters, and school supplies. These people have resettled in various provinces across Armenia, including Tavush, Syunik, Ararat, Vayots Dzor, and Lori.
To extend our support to more displaced families, we rely on your generous donations to FAR today. Let's come together and be that beacon of hope for our Artsakhtsi brothers and sisters, helping them thrive in a place they can call HOME.