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Zhanna Sargsyan. “Over the years I have realized the benefits of working in a team”


Candidate and current councilor of the Ddmashen community of Gegharkunik region, Zhanna
Sargsyan, a highly respected social science teacher, had never thought that part of her daily
life would be politics. It was a surprise to her at the time that she was informed that her name
was included in the list of active women in the Ddmashen community selected by UNDP
representatives. It was precisely for this decision that Zhanna's participation in a training
course to engage active women in local governments became crucial for her further
involvement in political life.

In 2015, he was nominated as a counselor and was elected. Although the family was not large,
she lived with her husband, two children, and a mother-in-law, and besides housekeeping,
where she was involved in vegetable cultivation after school, she still had the time and
resources to address community development issues. And they were not short – it took 20
years for the inactive kindergarten building to be completely renovated, with about 60
children eagerly awaiting the opening of the community and surrounding villages. It was also
necessary to begin the construction work to turn the neglected and destroyed part of the
former ambulance into a celebration house, to improve the rural roads, to solve garbage
removal and lighting issues.

 

According to Zhanna Sargsyan, there are very few jobs in Ddmashen: a school, a
kindergarten, an aid station, a greenhouse are just being built. The emigration in the
community is as great as in the whole Gegharkunik region. The overwhelming majority of
men went abroad for work, some with family, and some after moving overseas to family.
There is no workplace for women; their daily routine begins and ends in the home or kitchen.
There is no community of culture, a place where you can gather, chat, do business. That’s why
Zhanna Sargsyan’s caveat found its way out, she founded the Women’s and Youth Support
Center NGO. With her own efforts and finances she has set up a workshop in her home where
about 20 girls are engaged in dolls, tapestry and carpet weaving. And for the boys, she decided to set up a workshop for woodworking and pottery workshops at the upcoming celebrations.

The 4-year deadline for full implementation of Zhanna Sargsyan’s plans was insufficient, so
she decided to run again in the upcoming local elections as community issues – celebration
hall, village bridge, St. Tadevos Church, irrigation dock, outlet and overhaul problems have
not been resolved yet.

One of the provisions of Zhanna Sargsyan’s election program is the construction of a wool
processing plant. In Ddmashen there are 590 head of cattle, the sheep are being dumped by
the residents because there is no opportunity for sale in the village. However, it is possible to
make a thread from this wool yarn, which will be used in puppetry, carpet weaving and
tapestry, although financial means are still needed for this purpose.

 

Zhanna Sargsyan aimed to solve the problem with the example of the Sisian Women’s
Resource Center, and though she did not succeed, she hopes that once elected to the council,
the issue will be among the first to be resolved. There may also be unforeseen plans, as a
number of Gegharkunik communities will be enlarged in the near future, and it is unclear
what Ddmashen will be included in and what programs will be included.

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