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UNHCR’s visit to Metsamor - a host community for displaced families from Nagorno-Karabakh

On the occasion of the Motherhood and Beauty Day in Armenia, UNHCR was invited to a concert performed by schoolchildren of No. 1 secondary school in Metsamor town, Armavir province, a host community for displaced individuals. The concert was attended by the Deputy Governor, representatives of Armavir regional administration, UNHCR Armenia, community-based NGOs, teachers, children, and their parents.

The guests greatly enjoyed the songs and dances, and recitation performed by the schoolchildren, including displaced children from Nagorno-Karabakh (NK). The No. 1 secondary school in Metsamor currently hosts more than 40 children from NK and extends to them and their parents its genuine welcome and care.

To ensure displaced children’s adaptation to the new school and community environments, and to achieve smooth educational process and good performance, the school regularly initiates various entertainment events, extra-curricular and recreational activities by engaging all children – both the local ones and those displaced. The preparation for, and the celebration of the Motherhood and Beauty Day helped the children befriend each other, practise and demonstrate their artistic skills, and express their dedication to the host community - Metsamor.

At the end of the event, UNHCR representatives expressed their thankfulness to the teachers and children for their beautiful performances and highlighted the role and the genuine efforts of the host community Metsamor – including the local authorities and community-based NGOs – for the warm welcome, genuine approach and humanitarian assistance extended to the families displaced from NK. Words of gratitude were also expressed by some displaced mothers whose children were attending the school. They sincerely thanked Metsamor community for helping their children enjoy happy childhood and benefit from sound education and school life in the host community.

There was another important activity that Metsamor community had initiated on that day: a meeting with a group of women displaced from NK, among them mothers and grandmothers of the schoolchildren attending No. 1 secondary school in the community. The meeting, with a group of 25 displaced women, was organized by Metsamor Municipality, with the participation of the Deputy Mayor of Metsamor and his team, the Head of the Family, children and women rights department at Armavir Governor’s Office, representatives of the Armavir branch of the Armenian Red Cross Society, ‘Generation Solidarity’ Youth NGO, ‘Astghik’ community-based NGO and UNHCR Armenia.

The meeting went in a genuine and warm atmosphere allowing an open discussion on issues the displaced families currently face, their priority and longer-term needs such as humanitarian assistance, shelter solutions, livelihoods, education and employment. Issues regarding displaced people’s health and well-being - in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related constraints, especially - were discussed, as well. During the brainstorming where many ideas and recommendations were voiced, the women stressed the importance of their engagement in the community life, including in income-generation and livelihood activities, craft-sales and cultural events. Many wished to benefit from vocational education and internship programmes, facilitated livelihood schemes, more targeted extra-curricular activities and professional orientation for their children. UNHCR, together with Metsamor Municipality, will follow up on the issues raised and suggestions brought forward to help the host community assume new projects promoting inclusion of the families with focus on improved livelihoods and employment for women and sound education for the children.

 

Metsamor community currently hosts 340 individuals/83 families who are accommodated in a local hotel under the Municipality administration, or live in rented apartments, or with host families.

 

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The article was first published on the Armavir Territorial Administration's website.