Villagers in Shelters Battle Cold Winters

Spitak, Armenia

 

After completing the parenting course with the single mothers, we felt a need to do a brief Transformational Community Development (TCD) training with that group before forming a committee. We told them the mountain village story and explained how important it was to take responsibility for the development of their community and solving their problems by taking the local resources into consideration. But during the training, we faced some challenges. People were hopeless, disappointed, and hardly believed that anything could change in their community. We shared a couple of stories about how people succeeded and changed their community. This coming year we will keep working with that particular group and see how they move forward. 

 

Winter is a cold season in Armenia, although, this year it is mild in comparison to the previous severe ones. Villagers burn wood to heat their houses. These houses were given to them 31 years ago as a temporary shelter (maximum of three years) after an earthquake, and they have lived in these houses for more than three decades! They are very cold in winter and very hot in summer. And when we visited them this month, we saw some of the families had no fuel to heat the house.
 

This lady in the picture cried and shared that she is burning some plastic material and shoes from the street to warm up the house. But the emission from the plastic is extremely bad for the children’s lungs. They had no other option to survive the cold. She lives with her four children. Then we met another lady with some physical and mental disabilities. It turned out that she also burns old shoes and clothes to heat the house, as she had two children.

 

We wanted to organise a gathering at the House of Esther for the holidays, but it was not possible as most neighbours were busy preparing for the new year. So, we decided to visit a Syrian Armenian refugee who lives at the house. We had a good time together encouraging him and enjoying some cake. We really appreciated that time together. We hope this year to do more projects at the House of Esther and start building relationships with the neighbours.
 

We organised a Christmas party for 25 children. We raised funds and got 25 Christmas boxes, cakes and drinks. This was a very delightful time. 

 

Some people donated second-hand clothes, and we gave them all to the community members. They were happy to receive them!

 

Thank you!

 

Rami
GHNI Regional Field Leader