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The best thing is that it is peaceful here and not war: Children paint “My Old –New Yerevan”/ video

Carney and his family have come to Armenia two weeks ago. She tells about trainings in Syria– I used to attend trainings of dance, sail, and piano. She says that she likesYerevan, – now I am painting Republic square and fountains, but most of all I like Cascade. Painting event entitled “My old-new houseYerevan” gathered around dozens of children. Local children and those coming fromSyriawere separat3ed into groups and in the center ofYerevan, each of them was painting their favorite places. The event was initiated by organization “Save the Children” and UNHCR High Commissioner for refugees.


As Tamara Barbakadze/program manager of the organization “Save the children”/ told us since March they have started implementation of extracurricular training “child for a child” which aimed to reveal issues concerning refugees through children. During the program, children had many initiatives and this was final event. Speaking about the problems revealed as a result of the program Tamara Barbakadze singled out some of them:


–         Children especially state that they miss their city, their friends. One of the difficulties is linguistic issue. There are families whose family members are inSyria, which is also a problem for a child, as they miss. On the other hand, it is useful for local children, as they understood what it means to leave home and move to another country because of war.


–         Today we are talking about more tangible support/property, housing/ but they have integration problems as well. In many cases, children even do not tell about the problem at home, but using the method child for child we make these problems visible, – says director of organization “Save the Children” in Armenia Arsen Stepanyan adding that as a mono-ethnic countryArmeniadoes not accept other culture and it is noticeable even in case of Syrian-Armenians. In addition, if we want to integrate them into our society we must change ourselves.


Kalin, Azniv and Vanya Margaryans are sisters. One year ago they moved toArmenia.


–         We came toArmenialast year in July. Once a bomb fell on our house, right on my bed. We were dining at the time. We were frightened, the shootings were so many…,- says Kalin.


Now girls study at school named after Shirvanzade at 4th and 6th grades. Azniv and Vanya are twins.

–         The best thing about here is that it is peaceful and not war. However, my grandmother is inSyrianow and we miss her so much, we miss our classmates, house.


The girls say that they were greeted here very well:


-In our class, everyone loves me and I like everyone, says Kalin.


Most of all they ask us to teach them write their names in Arabian, and help us to learn Russian letters, – says Azniv.

Patil Kughikyan studies at 7th grade of the school named after Charents. She has determined to become an actress.

–         For the first time we came toArmenia7 years ago. We came for a month and then returned. But it is already a year since we live here.

Patil tells about shootings as well, but she says that their house was not destroyed.

–         I miss my friends very much, especially Nanush, she is now inAleppo. My father will come in two days, I am afraid when he is there; I want him to come and never go back.

53% of displaced people are children and 200 000 of them are under 4 year which, according to Arsen Stepanyan, makes the situation more complicated, as children cannot even escape on their own.


Lilit Qochinyan




P.S. According to UNHCR “Global trends” report, Syria is considered to be one of the countries “producing” the most “displaced” people (7.6 million) and refugees (3.88 million according to data of 2014). Next largest sources of refuges are Afghanistan (2.59 million) and Somali (1.1 million). Alarming is the fact that more than half of the world’s refugees are children. 


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