Twenty-two-year-old Artak Beglaryan lost his eyesight at the age of six in a mine explosion. Today, he’s a student at Yerevan State University. Every morning he wakes up early and prepares his breakfast and coffee before rushing off to meet his friends and head to class. Artak can easily navigate familiar areas, and overcoming daily obstacles and difficulties have become routine. A sociology major, he listens to his books on CD and has mastered typing on his computer, despite being unable to see the screen. Yet Artak confesses that even though having to study this way is time consuming, he never complains. “I never become sad because of the difficulties and problems. I have grown as an individual by overcoming these difficulties,” he said.
While his university does not provide all necessary tools needed for his study, Artak does not make a fuss. “Certainly, there are no adequate conditions but I do not blame anyone for it. Our state doesn’t have sufficient financial resources to create decent conditions for the blind,” he said.
Along with his studies, this young man is active in public activities. He has established “Kamk” or “Will,” an NGO in Nagorno–Karabagh, which aims to promote the educational development of youth through seminars, training courses and discussions on relevant issues. In 2009, Artak initiated the project “Get to Know Armenia,” within the framework of Armenia’s School for Young Leaders.
The desire to study has also led Artak to an interest in Thesalonike and Tbilisi. In September, he plans to study abroad to expand his knowledge. Along with singing, reciting poems and playing chess, Artak Beglaryan also loves sports. “Once I was with friends when they decided to climb a mountain. I also wanted to join them. They were afraid and didn’t allow me to climb. I climbed the mountain from another side, however, on my own. When I reached my friends they were surprised and told me that it was my persistent character, which took me to the top of the mountain,” he said.
Upon graduation Artak aims to work in his native Karabagh and dreams of contributing to the development of his homeland. He has plans to move to Karabagh upon graduation to continue to develop Kamk and remain actively involved in public life.
I am very much impressed by Artak. He inspires in me the belief that a disability doesn’t have to stand in one’s way of bettering their homeland. As a society, we must make every effort to accommodate all.
Manya Poghosyan is one of this year’s Margaret Ajemian Ahnert Journalism Scholars.