March's Featured Producer Partner | Shirak Group & Gyumri Crocheters

On a sunny and crisp spring day, HDIF's staff visited the Shirak Group in Gyumri.  The ladies were busy crocheting mini finger puppets for HDIF's order of 85,000 pieces to its client in Italy. For all of HDIF's producer partners, more orders mean job creation and economic development in the region.

The Shirak Group is one of HDIF's largest producer partners.  It was established in November 2016 by Gayane Hovsepyan, a talented artisan from Gyumri, who is the heart and soul of this group. With the help of World Vision Armenia's Amasia office, and Gayane's son, Karapet, who plays a central role in the operation, Gayane began training local women in the art of crocheting. Today, the Gyumri-based Shirak Group employs 35 highly skilled and motivated crocheters in a centrally-located building. 

The crocheters' personal stories highlight the great need for these jobs.  Some of the women have husbands working abroad and this income is often the only way for them to support their families between remittances. Retired women enjoy the camaraderie of crocheting together in a pleasant atmosphere, while supplementing their pensions.  Most crocheters work from home, so they can earn an income and continue to care for children and grandchildren.  

Responsibilities are divided between the core group members according to their previous training and experience.  For example, a woman who was formerly an accountant manages the finances, someone who was the head of the textile factory storehouse is responsible for raw materials allocation and storage.  Similarly, former designers handle product development, and former teachers train new employees.  Gayane oversees quality control and production planning.

Shop the beautiful products by the Shirak Group online at HDIF or HDIF-USA.

Beth Broussalian