Written by hdiforg
Monday, 11 May 2015
Syrian Armenia 1Syrian Armenian 2  

Aida from Aleppo, Syria joined HDIF about a year ago. Having moved to Yerevan about two and a half years ago as a Syrian refugee, Aida has kept her hope and her cultural ties alive through her handicrafts. She, along with a seamstress that assists her, uses an old Marash technique of sewing and beading that has been passed along through generations. Being her only source of income, Aida works upwards of 7 hours a day. Though she typically sells her items in small quantities, she hopes to gain more customers as summertime tourism increases. She also hopes to begin selling her items outside of Armenia, which would allow her to hire more Syrian-Armenians seamstresses to assist her. Aida’s main obstacle is the fact that her work is seasonal, and she doesn’t have many people in Yerevan that are interested in purchasing her items. Moreover, it was initially difficult and expensive for her to buy materials, as she was shipping them in from Aleppo. However, after exploring and searching, Aida has learned where to buy the best and most economically efficient materials.

Aida was first introduced to Tim through the Red Cross and UNHCR, who were trying to integrate Syrian-Armenians and assist them in finding work. She is incredibly grateful for everything that Tim and HDIF have provided for her in terms of opportunities for incomes. She is moreover appreciative of the fact that Tim is constantly giving her new and innovative ideas for her traditional handiwork. For instance, she says that she’s gotten tons of praise about the pieces of handicraft that she's worked on with silver, as that’s something that’s never been done or even seen before.

Take a look at a video done by Timothy Straight about Syrian - Armenian Jewellery.

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