Lena is an Armenian from Aleppo. She moved to Armenia with her sisters in 2014 because of the war in Syria. Tricot-knitting had been her occupation for many years. Upon arriving in Yerevan, she continued her career, and in 2016, Lena and her sisters established a small family business.
They founded LENA, a wool-clothing brand that offers unique, high quality sweaters and fashion garments, especially for children. She’s one of a few Syrian Armenian women working with HDIF.
Lena shared, "Having my input in this kind of initiative is very rewarding. Usually, I make woolen home decor and seasonal items. Lucky me many people find them beautiful and that’s the main motivation for me to continue my work."
HDIF has helped Lena expand her collection to include home decor and seasonal items. Today she employs other Syrian Armenian women as a result of the high demand for her quality products. Most Syrian Armenians are based in Yerevan. With their expertise and craftsmanship, they have enhanced the rich cultural fabric of Armenia.
She enjoys her job a lot, which used to be her favorite hobby. Ever since Maral was a child, she had the unconditional love for Armenian culture and traditions. Maral's grandmother decided to teach her embroidery techniques. And It has been transformed into a creative handicraft based on a variety of traditional elements and symbols.
Maral has a unique artistic vision. Many people not only in Armenia but also abroad have noticed her beautiful works. That’s how she began participating in various international exhibitions held in Syria, France, Brazil, Canada and other countries as well. Today she gives master classes of handicrafts to Armenian women who want to pursue an art career.
An amazing transition is going to happen to make Berdi Aygi. Their downstairs storage space will become a trendy, cozy cafe, using much of the existing furniture and serving yummy locally made gata and other Tavushian recipes!
There is no cafe like this in the entire Berd region, which is less than five kilometers from the front line. Since the war, the tensions have been high. With this little project, we want to bring a sense of a normal, positive, optimistic life back to Berd.
HDIF founder Tim's birthday is one week away, and he wants to use it to help Tamta and Hamlet make this happen! Please help out!
Hamlet and Tamta in Berd are so excited! They have chosen a name for their cafe! It will be called 'Berdi Aygi', or Berd Garden. It will be the first of its kind in the whole Berd region - cozy, with all kinds of tasty locally made Tavushian dishes.
HDIF Founder Tim is just as excited as Hamlet and Tamta are. He is using his 64th birthday to collect donations to help Berdi Aygi get on its feet.
HDIF's ambitious Sari Janapar project is also working on getting several bed and breakfasts going in the villages of Norashen, Itsakar, Navur, Tavush, as well as Berd town, as well as laying about 100 kilometers of trails. Berdi Aygi will be a wonderful compliment to this larger effort.
Let's all pitch in an make Hamlet and Tamta's Berdi Aygi dream come true!
HDIF Founder and Executive Director Tim's 64th birthday is 11 days away. Every year he chooses a cause that he believes in to solicit support. This year it is Hamlet and Tamta up in Berd, who have a dream of making their home into a cafe with natural honey, fresh baked bread, herbs from the garden and warm Tavush hospitality - all locally homegrown!
'We want the soul of Armenian rural life to live in these walls via tastes and smells of traditional Tavushian cuisine.'
This project is a small part of a much larger Sari Janaparh project by HDIF. You all will be spending a lot more time in Tavush soon! So prepare to experience some of it in Hamlet and Tamta's soon to be lovely little garden.
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