FAR provides financial assistance to the families of Artsakh War victims. It is through this support that 34-year-old Arpenya Balayan, a recent widow, was able to cover her rent, utilities, and baby formula for Areg, her newborn who entered the world at the end of November, shortly after her husband Vanik’s tragic death.
"The support came at the right time. Thank you so much. During the war, we received some support here and there from individuals, but it wasn’t much. I really appreciate this,” said Arpenya, who is currently renting an apartment in Goris with Areg and her other son, 8-year-old Vahan. She doesn’t want to leave the town as Vanik is buried in Goris.
Before the war, the Babayans used to live in Berdzor, Artsakh where Arpenya worked at a local laboratory and Vanik worked at Berdzor Gas Service and drove a cab in his spare time.
“We thought Berdzor was a relatively ‘safe’ zone, but we were wrong. I talked to him on that day, just a few hours before he died. He asked me not to worry too much but soon after, I lost the connection with him and he was unreachable. It seemed to me that life was at a standstill—hours, minutes, seconds—everything froze,” recollected Arpenya, who gave birth prematurely to Areg. “It was too hard for me to cope in this new reality. I couldn’t reconcile with his death. My mom and my children are helping me to get through this.”
Still, Arpenya is looking ahead. She hopes to be able to take some cosmetology classes to learn a new skill and build a new life in Armenia.
In this week leading up to April 24th, a day of remembrance and commemoration, Arpenya’s incredibly tragic story is representative of our collective loss, but also our resiliency.