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This job transformed my life as a mother forcibly displaced from Artsakh

The pain and trauma that 32-year-old Svetlana from Stepanakert experienced when she fled her home during the Azeri attack on September 19, 2023, now serve as a source of strength in her role as a social worker in the Martuni community of Gegharkunik province. This experience has deepened her understanding of the challenges faced by other displaced families and fuels her advocacy for their needs. 

She finds herself in the fulfilling realm of social work, offering a lifeline to the 35 displaced families in Martuni who rely on her unwavering support, hope, and resilience.

“My phone is on 24/7. Sometimes people drop me a call or a text just to say hi or dive into a quick chat. It's not just casual banter; it's a kind of psychological support they urgently crave. I think they confide in me because I’m one of them—I get what they've been through,” shares Svetlana who completed the Social Workers for Artsakh Project, launched by FAR after the 2020 war. 

Svetlana and her family of seven had to hastily abandon their homes in Martuni and Stepanakert, leaving behind their possessions, including their kettle, and poignant memories. They hardly escaped the relentless shelling by Azeris, desperate to steal a final glimpse of their residence and gather essential items - something they couldn't complete. "We found ourselves running on foot, seeking refuge amidst the trees, as the Azeris closed in, firing. My 3-year-old cousin, who could barely articulate words, cried out for help. Even more than a month after our forced exodus, he struggled to find solace in sleep, waking up in the dead of night with heart-wrenching sobs," Svetlana recounted. She emphasized that channeling the pain experienced by her and her family has motivated her to assist others and enabled her to excel in her current job as a social worker at the Martuni Territorial Center of Security Service. She is among the 13 displaced social workers who have secured positions in various regions of Armenia, offering crucial support and counseling to both locals and fellow displaced people from Artsakh.

For Svetlana, this job marks the conclusion of an exhausting journey following the painful exodus from home, and simultaneously represents a light of hope for a new beginning. "I miss Artsakh a lot – our homes in Martuni and Stepanakert, the familiar kettle, and even our cat left behind. The memory of strolling down 'Pyatachok' street in Stepanakert during summer lingers in my heart. However, I am resilient and optimistic, hoping to find solace here in Martuni, Armenia, though it differs from the Artsakh Martuni I had envisioned. The weather is markedly colder, and adapting to this new community and its residents is an ongoing process. Fortunately, getting this job with the help of the FAR Child Protection Center has transformed my life from negativity to positivity. I've regained my sense of productivity and confidence, now able to make a meaningful impact on the lives of other displaced people and families as well.”

To partner with us in our efforts to support Artsakh families settle down in Armenia, please consider making a donation to FAR today.


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