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How FAR and the Tavush Foundation are Helping Artsakh Displaced Overcome Trauma

To support displaced women and children in overcoming the barriers of post-war trauma and the challenges of settling and integrating into the Berd region, FAR, in collaboration with the Tavush Foundation and with generous support from St. Leon Armenian Church of New Jersey, has recently launched a new initiative. 

The short-term goal is to reach out to at-risk Artsakh displaced mothers, pregnant women, and children in Tavush province and help them overcome the trauma experienced during and after the 2020 war, a nine-month blockade, and forced exodus. The long-term objective is to help them resettle and integrate into their new environment. 

Anahit Lalayan, a psychotherapist and trainer and Artsakh displaced, leads the initiative. Through a meticulously developed plan involving a group-directive verbalization method based on psychoanalytical principles, Anahit aims to help these women address various stress factors affecting their mental health and well-being before, during, and after their exodus. 

“This is the second phase of our meeting series, which has two primary objectives: first, to understand how participants are progressing in their adaptation journey, and second, to help them maintain their personal and national identity,” said Anahit. 

Reflecting on the progress made since the program's launch in March, which includes 39 participants from the Artsvaberd, Tavush, Movses, and Chinari communities in the Berd region, she said: “Based on the meetings and pre-post psychological tests, I can say that at the beginning of our sessions, 75% of participants were experiencing average to moderate depression. Now, we see a notable improvement: moderate depression has decreased significantly, and average depression has shifted to a moderate level. The same trend applies to stress indicators, showing a substantial decrease. This indicates that continuous professional work with participants, both in group and individual settings, is essential.” 

Anahit also emphasized that one of the goals of the visits was to discuss with local psychologists the possibility for further professional support for the beneficiaries. 

While many participants have found meaningful goals in their new lives, others are still coping with local challenges such as employment, education, feeling of environment and belonging, as well as future aspirations. 

"Resettlement doesn’t mark the end of my life,” explains Diana, 19, a displaced daughter of Ashot Harutyunyan, who had to rescue her six younger brothers during the shelling of 2023 and hide in the basement until it subsided. Diana was scared back then but now exudes hope and resilience, inspiring other participants to love and appreciate life. “Working with Anahit helps me relieve my anxiety and concentrate on my wishes and dreams. The other thing I love the most is that the trainer is an Artsakhtsi herself, and we use our dialect during our meetings; it feels like keeping my identity and environment. Now, I know what I want to do: I will work hard to help my parents buy a house and live a peaceful life here,” she said with a beaming smile. 

FAR Health Programs Director Hambardzum Simonyan emphasizes the importance of psychological support at this stage, noting that many children and young people like Diana, settled in remote and border regions like Tavush, are the most vulnerable. “The uniqueness of this project is that these people receive support from an Artsakh displaced, who uses techniques dear to Artsakhtsi people, ensuring their psychological stability and integration.” 

To help us support the Artsakh displaced with resettlement and integration, consider donating to FAR today.


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