| Jul 12, 2023
The Story of an Armenian Cat
By Timothy D. Straight | Founder and Executive Director
The Van Cat for Made51
This is a Van Cat. They are white as snow and have one blue eye, and one brown. And they are Armenian.
Made51 is an organization created by UNHCR to create sustainable incomes for refugees where they are. In Armenia, this is largely the Syrian Armenians. So when Made51 asked us in HDIF if we could create a Christmas ornament that is hand made by a refugee in Armenia, we turned to Maral. She fled Syria many years ago and has been working hard to build up her hand felting business.
We told Made51 the story of the Van Cat. It's Armenian. It's unique. It's distincitive. We said it would make the perfect Christmas ornament for their Holiday Collection that they market to the world. They loved the idea. So right now, Maral and a gaggle of other Syrian Armenians are busy at work felting and embroidering thousands of these Van Cats.
This is what HDIF does. We cooperate, we develop, we encourage, we work hard every day to create sustainable jobs in Armenia.
This Van Cat is ready to adorn many a Christmas tree this Christmas - meow!
Maral in her Workshop
Van Cats by the Thousands