Often we can hear expressions like “there is no life outside of Yerevan”, “there is no job, no prospects for life in the villages”. There is a ring of truth in what is said, but while ignoring this problem we will have abandoned villages in future.
Diaconia Charitable Fund gives importantance to the implementation of projects development particularly in various villages of the regions of RA. We have already implemented such programs; there are programs that are in the stages of development and implementation.
Beekeeping development in Aghavnavank and Khachardzan villages of Tavush region
Many villages in Armenia are located so close to each other that the border of the neighboring village can pass along your wall. The borders of far villages become relative, because no matter there is border or no, people live with the same, often a boundless great concern. Many refugee families from Azerbaijan settled in 1988-1990- ies in Aghavnavank and Khachardzan villages of Tavush region; they live in abandoned, dilapidated houses. People who had lost their welfare had to resolve many problems of adapting to new abode, finding job and psychological ones. Many people couldn’t take up farming; most of them had lived in the city environments and didn’t have either skills or means for taking up farming. They could hardly survive with the provided aid. Khachardzan has 106 farms; here about 40% of families are extremely needy ones. Aghavnavank village has 302 residents and 98 farms. The same situation. There are no favorable conditions for farming; lands are not irrigated, villages don’t have agricultural water pipes. The climate and setting here allow developing bee-keeping, however these families could not take up beekeeping as well because they had neither knowledge nor means for buying bee hives, bee families and other necessary things. Both villages are surrounded by forests, flowery meadows, and this is the primary condition for the development of apiculture. Honey collected in such nature is organic and very healthy. A lot of people in the village wanted to take up beekeeping, as they realize that they can develop their economy in such way, have an income, but how? Beekeeping is an agricultural sector, which in addition to the financial investment, which does not correspond to the means of this village residents, requires the necessary knowledge and practical work. These refugee families in their hometown were mainly engaged in non-agricultural work: one of them is an engineer, the other is a builder, and the third one is a linguist. After getting familiar with people’s problems besides food-aid assistance program the Fund created and started implementing a beekeeping development program. First, families should have learned beekeeping skills, therefore have all necessary things for beehives and beekeeping. With the development program the Fund provided 20 beehives to each village, which was intended for 4 needy families (5 beehives per family), as well as required hats, bee smokers, scraping knives, strainers, also sugar necessary for keeping the bees in the early stages. Heads of two villages provided spaces for these beehives, where hives were placed. An experienced beekeeper lives in Khachardzan village, he willingly helps the beginners. A year after the start of the program, these ten families of the two villages will have enough honey for one year, and they commit to bringing 4 hives per village, 8 beehives in total, and these 8 beehives will be provided to neighboring Hovk community which is also in severe poor social condition. Thus beekeeping will be developed in the region, which will help people to have income, create an economy, and why not, most important, they will help their relatives, their neighbors. Beehives will expand throughout the years, this will be a major help to the families, on the other hand the beneficiaries will expand over the years, and many needy families will get out of difficult social conditions. We have started the program for two villages, but thanks to self-financing it includes the third village as well.
A sewing workshop in Talin town
A decision to open a small sewing workshop in Talin was taken in 2014, during the regular visit of the Fund. The residents couldn’t even imagine that the program will soon become a reality.
It did become a reality thanks to the friendly support of Diaconia Charitable Fund’s donors. The dearest dream of Talin residents and personally its mayor is already a reality: a small sewing workshop, which promises a great prospect and a better future for the town and its residents, was opened in Talin.
The Fund provided the factory with modern sewing machines, high-quality fabrics, threads. Professional free courses were arranged for people working with new model sewing machines. Talin residents often were the beneficiaries of the Fund’s various projects; however this was a special one for them: people are able to work and to be paid for their work, to fend their family care-about themselves.
The program highly inspired not only the residents of Talin, but the workers of all Aragatsotn regional administration as well. Local authorities expressed their willingness to help the factory with order and marketing. For example, on the 12th of May, 2015 on the day of the workshop opening ceremony the chief doctor of Talin hospital, managers of banks operating here, chief of police expressed their willingness to order everything necessary for their work in this workshop.
By this the problem of the sale of the products will be solved, it will provide a fixed income to pay the wages of the workers, for the purchase of raw materials for the workers of workshop; the workers have already built uniform for themselves.
Talin mayor joined the implementation of the program. It is planned that the sewing workshop becomes not only a production center, but along with it also a training center will operate. That is those willing to learn sewing can come here and the factory workers will teach them to sew. The courses will be free of charge. Residents of Talin believe that the small workshop will expand someday and become a large factory; here will be not only production, but also an educational center not only for Talin town but for the whole region. This will be in the foreseeable future, and upcoming there is a goal to provide means from the profit of small production on the renovation work of the kindergarten adjacent to the workshop. Talin sewing workshop promises a great continuation of a small deed.
People’s enthusiasm is growing day by day, craftsmen-professionals will not have to leave Armenia in hopes of finding job, and employees will have regular fixed income, with the course of time several dozens of people will join 10 workers.
Confectionery production in Aghnjadzor village, Vayots Dzor region
Aghnjadzor is about 200 km away from Yerevan. It doesn’t differ much from other villages: the same monotonous routine, lack of employment, busybody women who became the head of the household instead of men, who had gone abroad between jobs, helpless old people. The Fund developed a program of running a pastry shop in Aghnjadzor. Residents greeted the news with enthusiasm.
The village head provided the repaired area of the shop, The Fund has provided everything necessary for the work of the shop, that is: ovens, refrigerator, small tools necessary for baking cakes, plates and primary food products needed to start the production. The program was originally put together for women living in the village, but the enthusiasm was so great that the men got involved in this process as well. The shop is running. Besides pastries they also bake delicious bread and Armenian traditional lavash here, everything is baked to a long forgotten traditional recipes. There is an important thing too: the production is made only of local, organic products. Ten people have job, their neighbors dealing with livestock have a permanent buyer of sour milk, milk and eggs. The village head is doing everything to ensure the number of orders. They have an intention to sell the products not only in their village, but also in the neighboring villages and towns. The operating shop has а program in the short term: they are saving money for gaining their own delivery car. Economy operates, people’s day is filled with joy of work, they are gratified both by the result, and the help which they have already planned to implement: to deliver every day fresh patties to the village school and kindergarten. Upon this program thanks to the assistance of Diaconia Charitable Fund’s sponsors another production was opened in one more community which gave an opportunity to ten families to have a steady income, to their neighbors to have steady orders, to the village- farmers who enjoy the fruits of their labor and don’t complain on the unpromising future.