About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


La Maison Verte - Green House

When I moved to Armenia in 2003,  Amassia, my oldest daughter was 3 at that time and Varanta, my second, almost one.

It was quite challenging in the beginning to adapt to the new country with 2 babies and no family support. While my husband was trying to figure out things at his new workplace, I was exploring the city, searching for services, places, interesting spots for my kids to grow and develop.

It was during one of those random exploration days that we found ourselves by chance in front of this old soviet building at the end of Abovyan street with a sign that caught my attention immediately : "MAISON VERTE (Green House) for preschool children."



I will be 40 this year, in a couple of months.

I am not usually someone who is concerned with the idea of getting old. I rarely think of myself as soon-to-be 40 year old. But oddly enough, these past weeks I have been thinking a lot about that.

 I was watching my body in the mirror the other day and suddenly it hit me. I was getting old. Like something I have never imagined would happen.

In Armenia, a woman over 40 has 2 options – in general- and I am not talking here about exceptions: 1- becomes a grandmother and devotes her life to her grandchildren, 2- if single and unemployed, she will have lots of difficulties finding her place in this society where being a mother and a wife is the most important status that a woman can achieve. 



Mima was born in Malatia, in 1923, maybe 1925. She doesn’t remember when exactly. She was just a little girl when her mother ran away with her to Lebanon, escaping post-genocide trauma, persecution and fear.

Mima lived all her life in Beirut; she went to school there, grew up, got married to my grandfather and had three children. I used to spend a lot of time in her house where I ate delicious food, did whatever pleased me, listened to her songs and with my little bother teased her and made her run after us refusing to get cleaned up and go to bed early.


O Canada

22 years ago, i came to Canada, more specifically Montreal. Leaving war-torn Beirut behind them, my parents wanted to give us, my brothers and me, a safe haven.
This city means so much to me; back then, it meant rehabilitation, building confidence, healing and dreaming of a better life. I was a traumatized teenager when we first arrived to the Mirabel airport. The city looked so big, i was lost. Then, with it's peaceful surroundings, challenging educational opportunities and human approach, Montreal won my heart. I liked the place so much and interacting with different people from diverse backgrounds expanded my horizons. I appreciated the simple things that this country had to offer to an immigrant like me who all her life lived in a war-torn country with a dream of a better world. I remember the first time i visited the local public library in my area; spending hours touching the books all available for me for free, sitting endlessly in front of the archives, reading for hours and coming back twice sometime three times a week just to spend time there and devore hysterically almost every single book on my hands.


Liberian Journey #3

It's only my 4th day in Monrovia and i can't believe how much i am learning from this whole experience.
From governmental level to the very grass roots peace huts or community center in one of the worst slums of the world, women are involved everywhere. "Whithout the women, my friend and i would've been killed during the war, they were the ones who went out and fetched food for all of us. We couldn't go out scared that the rebells would kill us", said one of the male counselors at the lutheran church trauma center. Yes, the women of Liberia went out during the conflict, protected their men, their children, found food, and struggled with violence and rape but they were able to stop the war and bring peace to their communities.


Liberian journey #2

My second day started with an early breakfast with my colleagues; Alla from Fund Sukhumi, Georgia, Nino from Women's information Center in Tbilissi and Pervana from Yuva Center in Baku. After breakfast we were greeted by the Kvinna till Kvinna staff in Monrovia to have an intro of the week and a short presentation of their work in the country. Kvinna till Kvinna started field work in Liberia only last year with at first 2 local partners and now supporting and partnering 7 women's orgs in the country and working on many issues; peace and security, 1325 and GBV, Reproductive health, traditional practices endangering women's lives. Kvinna is one of the rare organizations supporting genuinely the local women's groups' needs and working on equal levels with them. You can read more about their work around the world on http://www.kvinnatillkvinna.se/en .


Liberian Journey #1

It is 7am in Monrovia right now. I arrived yesterday after travelling through Vienna and an overnight in Brussels. From snowy cold Yerevan i am now in hot humid +35 C Liberia. The passenger next to me in the plane was a young man from Ivory coast. He was returning from the US to visit his family for a month. He had a green card and was working in a small factory in Ohia for the past 3 years. "i need to work and send money back home to help my mother" - he told me, when i asked him if he liked the US, "you know us Africans, we take care of our moms so they don't work after a certain age. I see a lot of american old women working and i feel bad for them."


Tolerance and Social Activism: Teaching Kids the Basics

How do you create a fair and humane society if you don’t include the children in the process? Who will carry the torch? Who will guarantee its sustainability? How will the next generation learn about social responsibility if we always keep them away from the course of action?

I’ve always believed that raising kids did not only imply ensuring they are well-fed, warmly clothed and get a good educated (school) but also, and most importantly, it’s teaching them how to become responsible human beings; of their person, home, friends, environment, the earth and all living beings around them.