Tag Archives: villagers

The Birth of the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation

Yesterday, the phenomenal Homeland Handicrafts project grew up and became the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation. This project was started by honorary consul Timothy Straight—an awesome, awesome guy. A video of the launch is available here (skip ahead to the three minute mark).

This Foundation will provide the legal support to the hundreds of village women that have started to become self-sufficient through the Homeland Handicrafts project. The project took the skills the women had and provided them an avenue to use those skills and receive a profit. Many of these women have never had the experience of good work being rewarded monetarily. Some of the women are still resistant to change (e.g. one woman has too many orders for a product she sews, but she won’t tell other women how to sew it to keep her mini-monopoly). But, the more opportunities villagers get to be self-sufficient, the more this stubborn mentality will change.

Enough talking, go buy something! Or if you’re overwhelmed by the options, check out the product that started it all: the Berd Bear. They ship to the US and will customize your order, so you have no excuse now!


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Filed under Social / Culture

Repost: The story of two sisters: A perspective on the abortion issue in Armenia

“[B]efore you make any judgments about Armenian women who choose sex-selection [abortion], let me propose this scenario to you… Imagine that you are a twenty-seven year old woman living in a rural village.  You’ve already had two children.  One is seven years old and the other is five.  Now that they’re old enough to go to school, you help out your family by growing fruits and vegetables and making lavash to sell.  Your body constantly aches.  You have a fairly good relationship with your mother-in-law, but she’s getting older and all of the household chores rest on your shoulders.  You use family planning sometimes, but not all the time.  It’s more or less up to your husband and you don’t challenge him, because you think that whatever works for him, works fine for you.  You find out that you’re pregnant.  Meanwhile your husband has left the country to work as a seasonal migrant, and you’re left alone with two children to feed, clothe, and nurture; work in the field; a house to clean; and your elderly in-laws who depend on you. You can’t imagine raising another child, at least not now.  But you have two daughters and you know that it’s really important to your family to have a son.  They talk about it around you all the time.  You think that perhaps, if you have a son, at least he’ll stay in the home with you and his wife, your daughter-in-law, will help you manage.  Your daughters will get married and move out of the village when they reach the age of 18 or 20.  Maybe you’ll see them once in a while, but they’ll be busy with their own families.  Maybe, when you have a daughter-in-law, you won’t be as overburdened with work.  You’ll have security, which means that you’ll never end up in a dreaded old age home with no loved ones, no running water, and an air of hopelessness… The “choice” becomes rather simple, doesn’t it?”

Phenomenal story of village women’s reproductive challenges by Fulbrighter Ani Jilozen. Ani is doing great work providing reproductive health education and services for free throughout the villages. Her conclusion for how to tackle the abortion problem based on education, access to contraceptives and empowering women to be able to financial support their families would greatly benefit Armenian women.

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Filed under Women's Rights

From agriculture to emigration to women’s rights: life in an Armenian village

Here is a short article that is somehow able to perfectly show the struggles of living in an Armenian village. The article’s meandering subject matter matches perfectly the type of honest discussion and complaints you’d get from talking to one of the villagers over a glass of oghi.

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Filed under Social / Culture

Women of the Village and the Children of Armenia Fund

My friend and fellow Birthright Armenia volunteer Taleen Moughamian recently finished her volunteering stint at the Children of Armenia Fund. Her latest blog post is about the challenges women face in many of the villages in Armenia. The situation is heart wrenching (especially the use of cytotec to induce abortions). Taleen’s work was phenomenal and involved providing IUDs, free screenings, and general counseling. Go read the details over on her blog.


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Filed under Personal, Women's Rights