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"Last time that I have been sewing was long years ago, I was seventh-grade schoolchild and my mother used to shape the fabric, and I was doing straight stitches on a sewing machine,” says with a smile Mrs. Naira,  one of the visitors of the Association of Healthcare and Assistance to Older People, adding "it's been about a month that I have been attending these classes twice a week and I've already learned sewing on several machines and have a ready pillowcase done myself."

Mrs. Naira moved to Yerevan from Hadrut after the war, she is one of the participants of the program supported by the UNFPA Armenia.

With the financial support of the UNFPA, the "Association of Healthcare and Assistance to Older People" implements an educational project for the displaces elders of Nagorno Karabakh, within the framework of which the participants develop their sewing skills, having the opportunity to recover and support their families and peers in overcoming the consequences of the war. In the framework of the project, sewing machines and all the necessary equipment was purchased. In the final stage of the Project the sewed products, mainly bedding, will be donated to the displaced people from Nagorno Karabakh.

"The atmosphere is very pleasant here. I am enjoying coming to the classes, although it was a very hard decision to join the classes. I am already 64 years old, with 42 years of working experience. I am a teacher by profession. But in one day we lost everything: house, future plans:  my son was planning to open a dental clinic... we left everything in Hadrut, only the keys to the house are with me now..." says Mrs. Naira, who, however, found strength to live and also to gain new skills.

"Here, they teach us all the details of the sewing technique... hopefully I will master it and later on can take orders, will earn money and somehow cover my family social issues," says Naira Grigoryan.

Tamara Avanesyan is also one of the visitors of the center. After the war, she moved from Shushi to Yerevan with her daughter and grandson.

"I am already 66 and it is almost impossible to find a job at this age. When I learned about this opportunity, I gladly accepted it. I had no experience in sewing before, but decided to take this chance.  I feel very comfortable here, and very satisfied by the way the knowledge and experience is shared with us, especially by Margarita. She tells us all the details, explains very well, is patient and caring. People are also very nice and I do enjoy being here," said Mrs. Tamara, who had cooked a special cake and brought it to the center for her colleagues the day we visited the association.

Classes are conducted in a lively and mutually helpful environment.

"During the implementation of the project for the elderly people of Nagorno Karabakh, new needs have been appeared and we are making certain revisions to address them, of course not deviating from the original goal of the project" says Lilit Muradyan, the vice president of the "Association for Health and Care of the Elderly".

"During the project, we realized that in addition to sewing skills, we can also gave some entrepreneurial knowledge, as well as transfer the most necessary information that will help them start their own business, for example, where to buy quality but affordable fabric, what materials to choose for sewing, types of sewing threads, fabrics, etc."

Lilit Muradyan was excited to share also about new initiative that came out during the new project: "We also have elderly people that are embroidering and we are thinking of combining these two initiatives: the embroidered fabric can be taken by our people from Nagorno Karabakh and sewed into pillows, which we can sell and get additional income, a part of which will be given to the beneficiaries."

"Each of our participants is a role-model, they are very strong people, though they have lost their homes and relatives, but they got some strengths to move forward, they are also not limited by age and most importantly, they are very open to the learning new opportunities," noted Lilit Muradyan.