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The situation of single mothers is very difficult, they are more affected by the restrictions of the epidemic” Srbuhi Grigoryan

WomenNet.am talks to Srbuhi Grigoryan, a member of the “Bright Armenia” faction from Syunik, about the changed daily routine of the government’s programs and the alarms received from the citizens.


– How has the spread of infection changed your daily life?


– First of all, it has changed because the National Assembly works in a very tense regime. The number of special sessions has increased almost every week, but this is normal when there is a state of emergency in the country, and there is a need to make urgent decisions. There is also a difference in terms of direct contacts with citizens. Naturally, communication is greater on the same platform. Last year, in January-April, I managed to visit 13 communities, this year I participated in only 3 communities during the same period. True, I’m not in the risk group, but I always think about others. I follow the rules of security in the National Assembly as much as possible, and the rules are the same outside the National Assembly. I go shopping once a week. First of all, we must do everything possible not to get infected so that we do not contribute to the spread of the infection. This is the problem of all of us.


– The commandant is gradually easing the restrictions. What risks do you see in that?


– Once I suggested to the commandant to reconsider the need for one person by minibus and one taxi. There was information that the mini-buses were crowded, which was unacceptable in terms of the spread of the infection, and that change took place. I also suggested ensuring the launch of public transport. People can’t travel by taxi all the time. This leads to new social problems. I think, yes, restrictions should be eased. It’s not right to tell people to stay home for months. The state of the economy is getting worse. Social programs do not reach all the needy because they do not have accurate databases. So the citizens should have the opportunity to work and take care of their bread, housing and utility bills. On the one hand, the government says stay at home, on the other hand, we says that are not America, so that we can pay people for the minimum expenses. And it turned out that the light of many citizens was turned off. The government and the opposition are responsible for all this, if they don’t talk about all this. I also offered to allow inter-regional transport. It has been opened, and it is good that it has been opened. We know how far behind we are in terms of balanced development of the country. The health of thousands of citizens depends on the medical centers of Yerevan. The citizen receiving chemotherapy just can’t afford to take a taxi to get to Yerevan and return, not to mention those who receive hemodialysis.


The pandemic may last a long time, we should move on following the safety rules.  This situation means going back every hour in economic and social terms. And our country cannot afford it for a long time.


– In your opinion, what economic consequences will COVID-19 have for women?


The situation of single mothers is very difficult. They are most affected by the restrictions on the epidemic. It is true that they have learned to take care of the whole family on their own, but many were not and could not be ready for this situation. Most of them are self-employed and have been left out of social programs. There is a woman, she wrote that she is a beneficiary, she received “10,000 AMD” from these programs, and now they have given all the money, the benefit, to pay the rent and the utility rent. I say, how did you get along before that? She says I baked and sold pies for school children. We have helped several such families with food parcels, but this is a temporary solution, and it is a short-term solution. I also raised that issue. Let’s see what the government will do.


Of course, the government is implementing various programs to alleviate the social situation created by the epidemic in the country, but I have the impression that not only the citizens but also the government are involved in the web of those programs. Now I am convinced every day that the representatives of the safe class, the state non-state employees should be removed from the lists, and the others should be provided with financial support. In that case, we would not have had so many emotional letters about starving children.


  • What steps are you taking to protect the interests of your constituents and to solve the issues?


– I have pushed my current legislative projects into the background. I offend the experts of the three in that respect, but, yes, now the problems of the epidemic are important! I have written to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to support also the citizens accepting hemodialysis. By the way, I have raised this issue orally many times in the National Assembly, but so far the ministries are putting each other on the line. I also appealed to the Prime Minister to at least take it into account during the pandemic. In response to my question, Commandant Avinyan hinted that those receiving hemodialysis will be included in the social programs. But so far there is no answer to the question of our citizens receiving chemotherapy, which I have also voiced.


– What do you think is the role of women in the fight against coronavirus?


It is obvious that the double problems of ensuring the hygiene of the family members are on the shoulders of women. Ventilate often, disinfect everyone from head to toe before entering the house, disinfect food bags brought from the store, disinfect containers, etc. In addition, the majority of health care workers are women, and in many institutions, including the National Assembly, cleanliness and disinfection are provided by women. Most of the distance learning teachers are also women. So, women play a big role in preventing the spread of the epidemic these days. Everyone deserves special thanks. We will talk about these difficulties tomorrow in the future, but it is important that we overcome the difficulties with the least mistakes, for which our faction, including its four female members, works every day. I wish health to all our citizens, men and women…

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