Syrian Armenians benefit from UN refugee agency’s program

Syrian Armenians benefit from UN refugee agency’s program –

Armenianow – The Refugee Integration through Education program has enabled 38 Syrian Armenians to get specialized in three professions – hairdressing, cooking, and tailor-designer. Twelve hairdressers and chefs are already employed, the training course for tailor-designers is still in progress. 

The program that was launched in January has since worked with thousands of beneficiaries. The program is being implemented in cooperation with KASA Swiss Humanitarian Foundation and UNHCR.

The head of the Refugee Integration through Education Program, Marine Tunyan, mentioned that they tried to integrate those under the status of a refugee.

“We were able to integrate Syrian-Armenians with the locals. The locals were first of all provided – by integration, and secondly, we tried to provide them with a job. Thus we give them education, later on we follow up so that they get employed,” Tunyan said.

While working on the project they cooperated with the French-Armenian professional educational center. Tunyan mentioned that they used the crafts space of the center – the kitchen that matches professional standards and the hairdressing saloon.

After handing in the certificates UNHCR granted special presents – tools necessary for hairdressing – to the women specialized in hairdressing.

“This is the craft with which one will be able to find a job in any part of the world. Besides providing first urgency support, which is a temporary help, we tried to implement a program which will help you stand on your feet. This is also a good opportunity to work from home especially for those women who have small children. You can get together and found your own hairdressing salon, you can start your own business,” UNHCR Representative to Armenia Christoph Bierwirth said.

A mother of four, Hranush Petrosian moved to Armenia from Syria with her family in 2012. She already has customers, works from home.

“I am very pleased with this opportunity, and in general if we have a job, we’ve decided to stay in our homeland Armenia,” Petrosian said.

Nineteen-year-old Arin Ghazarian from the project said that it’s been six months she moved to Armenia from Qamishli in Syria. She said that she has become quite professional in her work. She visits her customers herself.

“Now I even have the tools, which will make my work easier. I also study at the Polytechnic University, my father stayed in Qamishli, he has a job over there, I hope to be able to help my family one day,” Arin said.

UNHCR Armenia External Relations Associate Anahit Hayrapetyan said that aid is not forever and they stop one day, and such programs enable people to have stable employment later.

““Emergency assistance projects finish soon, those who thought that they will continue lose, they get no professional practice, and they do not use such programs. One must be able to make good use of these programs. In the future it is possible to start a private business if they turn to the National Center of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for loans, if they meet the conditions,” Hayrapetyan said.

According to her, owing to UNHCR-SME-DNC project about 170 Syrians benefited from trainings for start-up businessmen, after which around 85 displaced Syrians received loans up to $10,000 aiming at improving or starting up their own businesses.

“Interest rates enable us help other beneficiaries. We have counted that even if the program does not get financed then by the generated interest rates we will have enough budget by which the program may successfully continue,” Hayrapetyan said.

Syrian-Armenian Lusik Petrosian said that they moved to Armenia from Aleppo nine months ago. She is happy that she has such an opportunity to gain a profession.

“In Aleppo normally women do not work. Here I will work, my children are already grown. My husband is a blacksmith, and he already has a job, if everything goes right we will stay in Armenia,” Petrosian said.

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